It's a school with overcrowding and undersized classroom issues, but help may soon be on the way.
Natick residents during Day 2 of Fall Town Meeting approved funding for a feasibility study on Kennedy Middle School, which will decide whether to renovate or build a new school. But the $750,000 that is to be used is dependent upon the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
"If we don’t get approval (from the MSBA), then no action is needed with the funds," said Finance Director William Hurley.
What the Town Meeting vote does is allow the school district to start working on the study now instead of waiting for another vote at Spring Town Meeting, assuming the MSBA approves the project.
“It is our firm understanding that until a positive response comes from the MSBA, we would not initiate the feasibility study nor spend any of this money,” School Committee Chairman Dirk Coburn said.
Bruce Snow of Precinct 5 said the purpose of the school when it was first built is not how it is being used today.
"If there is overcrowding it's because the building was designed for three grades," he said. "When we went to a middle school format we added two grades. The Town should do a study on our own and go back to a junior high format."
Hurley said more than 70 percent of Kennedy's classrooms are undersized by MSBA standards, and overcrowding of other classrooms has forced the school to use the cafeteria for educational purposes.
The original design of Kennedy allowed for an enrollment of about 600 students. This year the student population is approaching 635, with a projection of 704 over the next few years.
FINCOM member Jimmy Brown of Precinct 8 said he supported the article, but Diane Vabulas of Precinct 5 was concerned about going forward without first getting approval from the MSBA.
"If we are turned down, none of the money will be spent," Hurley said. "We'll reapply in 2014."