A K-8 magnet school at Aquinas offers an intriguing double-bonus:
1. It gives us an opportunity to strengthen our academic program with a math/science academy, a Montessori program, or world language immersion (e.g. Framingham’s math charter school, and the highly regarded Holliston French immersion and Montessori offerings);
2. It will draw off every single elementary and middle school in Newton, reducing enrollment pressures at every single school in the district. If spending on Aquinas eliminates the need to spend for expansion at some of our other schools that must be added into the economic equation.
Brian Turner and Paul Stein have both recently noted that they want academic program to drive space considerations and not the other way around. I agree with them, and in an ideal world this is how it should be.
In the real world, there is a constant tussle to balance academics with cost considerations. The class size discussion offers the perfect example. In the Aquinas situation, we might be able to make the argument that its acquisition and use as a magnet school can strengthen both our academic mission plus our financial situation!