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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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Harwood bond focuses on essentials

This continues to be a tough time economically for many people. It is clearly not a time to ask for extra money lightly. 

The bond that the Harwood Union School Board is putting before voters on November 10 focuses on essentials. We are asking for your vote now because we have the opportunity to qualify for zero percentage financing if we pass the bond by November 13.

As Vermonters know, it is essential that we preserve our resources. Harwood Union is a resource of the entire Washington West community. The building is now 42 years old and it is showing its age. Our roof is leaking, our heating system does not distribute heat evenly through the building, and our primary water main is leaking. The dishwasher, which is still the original, runs for five hours every school day and requires regular repairs. Our parking lot and driveway have deep potholes that present dangers to pedestrians and cars. 

Finally, while our sports teams have grown by almost 300 percent since the school opened, our one regulation playing field is frequently too wet to use, forcing us to cancel games. Voters made it clear last year that they do not support substantial expansion of our athletic facilities. While the $2.5 million plan proposed last year included significant expansion of our athletic facilities, this proposal deals with improving the safety and condition of our existing field and only modest expansion, focused on the land adjacent to Harwood that voters approved for purchase in 2000 specifically for the addition of another playing field. Passage of this bond will allow us to move ahead with that plan and begin using this resource.  

Specifically, the $1.1 million bond that we are recommending includes $288,000 for building repairs, $500,000 to totally redo our parking lot, $175,000 to repair our current playing field and add an additional field, and $77,000 to replace kitchen appliances. (The remaining funds are for "contingencies," but we will only borrow the amount that is needed after actual bids come in.) 

What is the bottom line? While our tax structure does not allow a clear answer to that question, we estimate that a family with a $200,000 house will pay an extra $20 annually in taxes. But, there will also be costs if this bond is not passed. In just the first four months of this fiscal year we spent some $15,000 in repairs on those items we are targeting for replacement.  Without the passage of this bond, our repair bills will continue to mount and those expenses will come out of our regular operating budget -- meaning we will have to cut back on core educational programs. For all of these reasons, we are recommending that voters approve the bond vote on November 10.      

Harwood Union Middle-High School Board of Directors consists of: Joanne Duhl,
Waitsfield; Mary Gow, Warren; Freddie Graves, Fayston; Ann Griffin, Waterbury; Bob Holden, Moretown; Chris Koliba, Duxbury; Mike LaRock, Waterbury; and Scott Mackey, Waterbury.

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