Shares multiple concerns about consolidation
Published 5:17 pm, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
To the Editor:
I urge a no/no vote on Region 12's referendum.
I was at a meeting last year when I first heard the Region 12 Board of Education was once again pushing for a consolidated elementary school to be located in the town of Washington.
I asked a Roxbury Realtor at the meeting if young families would move to Roxbury if Booth Free School were to be closed. Without hesitation the answer was a resounding no.
Connecticut ranks 45th of 50 states for population growth. It's irresponsible to build a new facility at such high costs for fewer students.
It's disturbing the BOE would work so hard and waste so much money to close schools graduating students who are excelling on state mastery tests.
Burnham and Booth are the two top performing schools in our region and Washington Primary is doing well, too. Students don't need a state-of-the-art school, just the technology and teaching and they are getting that now.
Most complaints I hear from parents on the Region 12 school system is when the students go up to the Shepaug campus.
Bridgewater and Roxbury taxpayers will not only bear their share of the $50 million in bonds for the next 30 years, but will also see their property values decrease by an estimated 10 percent.
When property values decrease, the grand list for the town goes down. Now the town would need to increase its mill rate; so taxpayers taxes would go up even more.
Then there's the empty school. To bring that building up to current code for general use would cost millions more. More taxes.
Solutions have been offered, such as pre-K to grade two classes at Booth and grades 3-5 at Burnham. This would cut staffing costs and still keep the schools in each town.
Unfortunately, the BOE will not even look at that as an option.
Many seniors in town hope to downsize and sell their large homes. That will not happen if young families do not move in to buy them.
The consolidated school located in the town of Washington would not bring vitality to Bridgewater and Roxbury; it would do the exact opposite.
There is already a state Supreme Court decision; according to state statute 10-47(c), the vote would pass only if it's passed by a majority of residents -- that's 50 percent plus -- in each town.