We talk about the facility plan and what’s best for the kids. But let’s take a broader look and include all of our facilities. We shouldn’t just be talking about the schools. We also need to talk about all of the town’s facilities. At one of the recent town meetings the town manager noted that some (my guess probably all) of our municipal buildings have code issues. I suspect there are huge problems throughout the entire town that are larger than just some issues not being up to code. Because we have no idea if we are looking at $1,000,000.00 or $100,000,000.00 in updates and or repairs, we are not being fair to everyone involved. How can the taxpayers vote on a bond without knowing the entire story? This should be evaluated before we bring to a vote the $85,000,000. 00 bond proposed just for the schools. This amount would put the town in a difficult situation if something disastrous ever happened.
We need to evaluate all of our facilities then prioritize the repairs. Some of the school buildings may be in better shape than some of the municipal buildings. Who knows maybe all of the schools are in better shape than all of the municipal buildings? But whatever the case is, we need to start with the worst first.
Another way we should be looking at the school facilities plan is to find out what will give the town the biggest bang for their buck. If we close the existing high school, we will be sitting on a building with little to no value. If we close the CCMS that entire strip of land from South Rd School to CCMS could be rezoned for a mixed use. We could have affordable housing, light commercial, etc. This type of change will generate taxes for the town, address the affordable housing situation and create jobs.
We need to look at the entire picture and not keep looking at segments of our town. We have been shortsighted far too long. Let’s insist on responsible planning.