Gill re-elected; new schools approved:
Secures re-election as Council President
About a half hour into Peter Gill’s victory celebration at the Cottage Park Yacht Club, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” serenaded the large crowd.
Just like the recently crowned world champion Boston Red Sox, Peter Gill had defeated a strong, highly regarded opponent in a widely watched and competitive race. Gill’s prize was a triumphant return to the position of Winthrop Town Council President for a second two-year term.
Gill received 2,817 votes to win the election against former Town Council President Jeffrey Turco, who received 2,634 votes. Five of the six precincts in the town were decided by 29 votes or fewer. However, Gill won Precinct 5 handily, 641-479, and that was the major difference maker in the final tally.
Gill received a tremendous ovation as he thanked his wife, Maureen, and his many supporters in the hall.
“I have to say to the girl that I live with and I love, she’s been very, very patient for the last three years. We decided together to do this again.
“You’re known by the company you keep and I’m so proud to look around this room tonight. There is not a person in this room that’s not a nice person. The enthusiasm of everybody on my committee and everybody that’s here tonight has been truly inspiring and it’s very heartwarming that you’re giving me the opportunity to serve you as your president for two more years.”
Gill then used a baseball analogy to explain the significance of his victory on a personal level.
“Last week there was a World Series in Boston but you know what – that’s small compared to the World Series in Winthrop tonight.”
Gill then introduced Councilor-at-Large-Elect Rich Boyajian and School Committee member-elect Dawn Sullivan to the appreciative crowd.
“The council president is back and against all odds, we have a new school,” said Gill. “The Red Sox World Series is nothing compared to Winthrop’s World Series tonight. To my committee, they’re phenomenal. Thank you for what you’ve done and thank God for giving Winthrop back to us tonight.”
Voters Overwhelmingly Approve New Schools
There is a new Winthrop middle/high school on the horizon and if all goes according to the plan, students will enter the state-of-the-art school in January, 2017.
Voters overwhelmingly said “Yes” to funding the construction of the $82 million school building (with 59.9 percent reimbursement from the state) that will separately house all middle and high school students. The results in the closely watched election were 3,284 “Yes” votes to 1,881 “No” votes.
The 21-person School Building Assistance Committee (SBAC), co-chaired by Marylou Osborne and David Dockendorf, worked diligently on formulating options for school construction/renovation before deciding that a new combined middle/high school building would be the best option for the town. The Massachusetts School Building Authority agreed with the SBAC’s choice as well.
“We have a lot of work in front us but at least we know now that we will have a school project – that’s an awesome feeling,” said an elated Osborne. “We did a lot of work on the School Building Assistance Committee. Winthrop Is Worth It did a lot of work pushing it over the goal line. “But the townspeople really paid attention and I feel really good about that. They showed us with their support.”
Superintendent of Schools John Macero also hailed the victory for the new school project.
“Tonight was a victory for our community,” said Macero. “Not only was it a victory for our kids, but more importantly it was a victory for our community because we’re now able to move our kids and our schools into the 21st century at the high school level.”
Winthrop has been making considerable progress in Advanced Placement scores and MCAS results at the high school level.
“And now we can give these students an opportunity beyond that when it comes to the space around them,” said Macero. “I’m just thrilled. And I was overwhelmed by the amount of support that the community gave us for this project which showed me that they trusted us as we were moving forward that this is the right plan.
“The unsung hero of this thing was Marylou Osborne and David Dockendorf who were our chairs of the School Building Assistance Committee. They worked endless hours making sure that we had everything all set to put this forward. And then we handed it off to the Winthrop Is Worth It Committee and they took it and they ran a great campaign. I’m proud of Winthrop and I’m proud to be the superintendent tonight.”
School Committee Chairman Gary Skomro has served on the SBASC for two years.
“We were always working toward this vote (Tuesday),” said Skomro. “The school that has been approved by the commonwealth [MSBA] is the best thing for this town and the voters said they agree. I’m very happy with the 2-1 margin that the citizens of Winthrop gave the new school.”
Town Manager James McKenna also credited residents for approving the new school project.
“Tonight Winthrop spoke and they spoke about their future and I believe they’ve embraced that future,” said McKenna. “I really believe the best is yet to come. With the school win the town recognized what its responsibilities are – to its children. We go forward knowing what our mission is and we’re excited about the prospects of building a strong and competitive school system and we will, with this new school.”
“We’re delighted to have a new, state-of-the-art school in our future,” said Police Chief Terence Delehanty. “It’s important for our kids to have great facilities like this. I believe this new school building will bring people back to Winthrop and steer it forward.