Aldermen Question Charter School Lease at Old High School: Verizon Declines Invitation to Offer Cable Service in Town

August 28, 2013
By

Mayoral Chief of Staff Melissa Rodrigues handled a bevy of questions from the Board of Aldermen Monday night pertaining to the city’s decision to lease space inside the old high school on Broadway to the Pioneer Charter School this fall.

Rodrigues began by apologizing to Aldermen for not informing the board of the city’s lease agreement when it was signed, as Mayor Carlo DeMaria had promised the board he would do with any new activity in the building.

According to Rodrigues, the lease agreement with Pioneer Charter School, which is building a new branch for their school in Saugus, is for three months with month to month options to extend.

The lease payment to the city is $8,000 per month, plus the Charter School pays all costs associated with operating their classrooms in the space. Pioneer has complied with all state and local building requirements to make the first floor space it is using habitable as an educational space and is carrying insurance to cover injuries and damage to the building during its occupancy of the building.

“They originally asked for a three-month lease and an option for an additional three months, but we asked them to go month to month on the options,” explained Rodrigues. The city does not anticipate that Pioneer will need to lease the space for longer than six-months and Pioneer did not respond to the city’s last Request For Proposals( rfp) for re-use of the building, so they are unlikely to become a permanent or full-time tenant or owner of the building.

Rodrigues did say that the Charter School is using classroom space and the former principal’s office spaces on the first floor, as well as the gymnasium during daytime hours only.

The city has other tenants that use the gymnasium during evening and weekend hours.

The lease payment to the city was determined based on payments made to the city by other former tenants of the building and the pro-rated amount of space that is being utilized by Pioneer.

Verizon not interested in competing in Everett

The Aldermen also acknowledged receipt of a letter from Chief of Staff Rodrigues earlier in the meeting, in which she notified the Board of the city’s efforts to entice Verizon to begin offering cable service in Everett, in an effort to create a competitive cable market for city residents.

Rodrigues’ letter to the board included copies of email correspondence between Verizon representatives and the Mayor’s office, in which they notified the city that the company had decided not to come to Everett at this time.

The correspondence is similar to a letter the city received form Verizon officials in 2012 as well.