To the Editor:

Fellow taxpayers, we are about to be asked to approve spending for repairs and additions to the Shepaug Valley Middle/High School that will require a debt of $8.2 million dollars, or about $1,400 for every man, woman and child living in Region 12.

This is an unnecessary expenditure and there is likelihood that more than half of it will be wasted.

Prudent taxpayers will vote against the June 17 referendum.

If the referendum were to be approved, unbearable cost per student would eventually cause the shutdown of Shepaug Middle/High School because the number of students is trending down and the total costs are trending up.

With the closure, we would see more than half of our money wasted, leaving us with 10 years or more of debt service where we pay and have nothing to show for it.

Advocates for the referendum including members of the Board of Education know there is considerable risk for this investment.

Why haven't we been advised of the risk? Why are they taking the risk in the first place?

Ask an advocate or a member of the Board of Education and you will be told, "The downward trend is just a forecast. One never knows when it will turn up again."

They are rolling the dice with our money.

The region has endured declining enrollments for more than 10 years. Dr. Pete Prowda, a well-known demographer who has studied our situation, advises declining enrollments will continue in Region 12 for at least another five years and the decline will continue until sufficient affordable housing is available for startup families.

See his forecast on the website,

Shutdown the middle/high school as soon as possible.

The students will be tuitioned out to neighboring school districts close by and have good academic reputations.

For the taxpayer, per student costs would go down by as much as 30 percent and there would be no financial risk because there is no borrowed money.

Vote `no' June 17.

Loy Wilkinson