Urges 'all the facts' before closing Pettibone
Published 12:24 pm, Wednesday, March 26, 2014
To the Editor:
A request to the New Milford Board of Education: Show us the money.
The town of New Milford has asked the school board to find cost savings, and is pushing for the closing of John Pettibone School, which currently has some empty classrooms.
I attended the last three public comment hearings held by the school board, and each time I asked the same question: How much money would a new school cost in 10 years when school enrollment has risen and the town tells us we need to pay for a new school?
The school board has not provided that information. Would the answer to that question erode their case for closing the school?
Another person at a hearing asked if the consulting firm hired by the school board had checked the enrollment numbers at any of the several pre-K schools in town. The parent who spoke said her own daughter's pre-K class has 30 kids.
Most of those kids will be in kindergarten next fall, and that is just one pre-school.
It was not evident the consultants had visited any of the pre-schools. Those numbers could influence a school closing decision.
The town would have to purchase land for a new school if Pettibone were to be closed because that property would be sold and developed. It may become another strip mall, or a big box store, but it probably won't be available for a new school.
Would it make more sense to keep Pettibone open and renovate in a few more years? Would that be less costly? Those questions have not been answered.
In 10 years time, there may be a completely new town council, and most probably a new mayor.
Kicking the can down the road now to a future administration is the same old way of doing things. Perhaps the school board could look into closing the Catherine Lillis Administration Building along East Street to save money, as was suggested by others at the hearing.
Give us all the facts, and show us the money.
The public has the right to know before any decision is made since we will all be paying for a new school when enrollment inevitably increases.