I encourage your readers to say “Yes” to less taxes on the Tuesday, Feb. 15 referendum, which includes approval for our new school (pre-K to 5th grade). I want to highlight the thoughtful planning for our students by a Tri-Board planning team starting in 2018 and up to the recent efforts by the Board of Education to come up with better value for our taxpayer monies.
We end up saving money by receiving the grants from the state that assist in payment for new construction compared to doing nothing and ending up with 70-year-old buildings. Without a new school building and the proposed changes to Brown and to Polson Middle School, we end up paying more by whittling away at projects and raising $100 million in Capital Improvement Funds to maintain what we have. The alternative of doing fixes at Ryerson for projects keeping it up to statutory codes for health and safety may include $3.7 million and for Jeffrey, easily $10 million for the repair of the roof, the exterior envelope, and air quality issues. These are simply some of the big-ticket items.
It was well documented during the Nov. 9, 2021, Board of Education meeting that the current buildings have not been serving the students, teachers, or the community. Approving the bonding measure, provides for a plan for our students (which a “No” vote would not); providing improvements for an auditorium at Polson allowing for performances, as well as a place for the community to meet; eliminating trailers being used as classrooms; and provides space for parent/teacher conferences.
The school plan is only part of the referendum. I also want to tout the benefits of having Academy School into a community center and the financial wisdom of approving the sale of Island Avenue.