Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Sophia Green quizzes a school district official during her term as School Committee student member in 2020. (Photo: Derek Kouyoumjian)

Answers for after-school programs

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The key order this week is for the city manager to come up with a plan and funding for a rapid expansion of out-of-school-time slots for kids, after a surprise switch to a lottery approach left many families shut out. “We had a hearing … this summer where staff said that if your child had a space in March 2020, you will have a space this fall. And that’s not what happened,” vice mayor Alanna Mallon said Monday. “It turns out that for many students, there was not a spot.” While last week councillors wanted mainly to know why the change happened but wasn’t communicated, now some are looking for a fix that includes convening a Caregiver Advisory Council and reestablishing Community School Neighborhood Councils. (In another take on shoring up community structures that have weakened over time, the Community Development Department says it has updated a list of neighborhood organizations and ordered planners to reach out to the organizations annually to keep information up to date.)

There’s also a call for a written plan to recruit more Black people, indigenous people and other people of color for leadership positions in municipal government, enact a “language justice” policy for Cambridge Public Schools – there’s a matching order before the School Committee on Tuesday – and, on the lighter side, an effort to bring more paddle tennis and pickleball to the people of Cambridge. The meeting will pause at 6:30 p.m. for the year’s hearing on setting property tax rates for homes and businesses.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Public safety takes your questions

Community Conversations with Cambridge Public Safety, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police officers and representatives from the Animal Commission and the emergency communications and fire departments plan to hear questions and concerns from residents – in this case, people in North Cambridge are prioritized – about what they do or should be doing. Register at and consider emailing questions in advance to [email protected]. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Student votes on committee issues 

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. Agenda items suggest that student committee members be allowed to take nonbinding votes on all motions and resolutions by Dec. 31 and that funding be set aside in the next budget process for a Language Access Plan that will ensure “the fundamental right every person has to communicate, to understand and to be understood in the language(s) and method in which they feel most comfortable.” (There’s a related City Council order.) There will also be a presentation on student engagement and chronic absenteeism, and after the meeting comes a closed-door session to discuss a range of contract negotiations and pending litigation.

The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Apartment plan in Central Square

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Cifrino Mass Ave Realty will present plans to squeeze 46 dwelling units between 600 Massachusetts Ave. and Green Street, replacing a one-story former mattress shop with six stories encompassing 46 residences and storefront space within a combined total of 93,824 square feet. There are also changes proposed for the office building at 150 Cambridgepark Drive, North Cambridge, including adding a freight elevator and tenant amenities by enclosing a covered walkway around the base of the building. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Hotel at the Gas-Light Building

Historical Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday. Back before the commission: a proposal to add three stories of 37-room boutique hotel above Central Square’s historic 1912 Cambridge Gas-Light Co. Building at 727 Massachusetts Ave., which the commission agreed last month should get a landmark designation study. Ground-floor retail would remain, with the hotel entrance going on Temple Place. Two floors of office space will be sandwiched between for a total six stories. Commissioners will also consider a landmark study for the “Live Poultry Fresh Killed” sign, once at the Mayflower Poultry shop at 621 Cambridge St. and now owned by the East Cambridge Business Association, and will likely give the go-ahead for demolishing the 1970 Tobin School building at 197 Vassal Lane, West Cambridge, to make way for a new structure to open in 2025. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.