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As a mother of two children starting school this week, I can’t help but reflect on the importance of maintaining the excellence of our schools. My husband David and I chose to move here 12 years ago, his hometown, because we both recognized that Madison is an amazing place. We enjoy a high quality of life due to the town’s many assets: the Surf Club, Bauer Park, and a great library, among others. But we are most grateful that we can put our kids on the bus each day knowing they are building a strong educational foundation to succeed in life.
However, we have also been dismayed with the state of the facilities. There seems to be a disconnect between our reputation as a premier, bedroom community and the quality of the buildings we send our children to daily. Antiquated HVAC systems, worn-out roofs, and outdated classrooms are among a long list of problems. Decades of deferred maintenance coupled with declining enrollment have built up a mountain of skyrocketing costs, creating economic inefficiencies and forcing us to make difficult choices. Let’s be honest, the old way of doing things no longer works. A potential decline in the reputation of our schools will drive people to neighboring towns and impact everyone’s property values.
I am encouraged by the recent tri-board committee effort to develop a plan for our school buildings, but this cannot be done in isolation. We must create a more strategic, integrated vision for all our community assets and support it with a detailed action plan. We can sustain the Madison we love while embracing the future, but that requires bringing together different constituencies in town to tackle our challenges in a cost-effective way—and a town government that is capable and willing to do so.
Peggy Lyons is the Democratic candidate for first selectman.
The 2020 Member Directory and Town Guide for Branford, Guilford, North Branford, and Northford has arrived!