Letter to the Editor

Vote no on Prop S -- it's the rational choice

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dear Editor:

Proposition S has stimulated many letters and ads recently in your papers to vote NO. Based on the facts, a NO vote is in order. Does it make sense to lease a building for 20 years, like is currently being proposed by the NEVC School Board, at a total cost of $5 million or $250,000 per year in rent, and at the end of 20 years, not own it? Further, comparing a total lease cost of $5 million to a proposed construction cost of a new building, put at $3.5 million and owning it, is $1.5 million more to lease. Owning the building is less costly than leasing it; yet leasing is proposed. Surely, I am missing something here.

The NEVC School Board, by one credible voice, has $500,000 available to use as desired, like making necessary building repairs. How long has this money been there? If several years, then it would seem prudent to know why the school buildings are in poor repair, unless this is by design. I remember Vance Packard's reporting decades ago on industrial planned obsolescence. Are NEVC school buildings in a state of planned obsolescence? If, on the other hand, that money comes from the recent levy increase, $3.45 to $4.22, perhaps the euphoria of a new building has held that money in abeyance awaiting a YES vote; but in either case, the school board should reconsider its plans to build new, instead repair; as there are no facts on the side of the school board beyond needed repairs, leaving only the emotional argument: the kids need a new school, but new does not fit the current facts

These are some of many facts., that weigh against building a new school, in cursory form: increasing the levy by more than 23 percent during hard economic times, adding this 23+ percent levy within two or three years of an earlier increase, tightening state school budgets causing teachers to be laid off, declining population in NEVC district where 25,000 acres are under Conservation Department ownership, birthing fewer children per family, draining approximately 90 children from NEVC schools by private schools, running the risk of putting two towns in the kill zone when the schools leave, raising the taxes further will cause folks to seek property where taxes are lower, and increasing bussing costs to an out-of-town school.

With many facts on the side by those opposing a new school, let the memory of the recent passing of Patrick Brophy, reportedly a man of facts and not emotion in argumentation, win the day; if he would not accept an emotional argument, why should NEVC voters either?

Sincerely yours,

Gray Clark