The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board would be wise to postpone a planned vote on a $53 million bond from November until next spring.
As The Valley Reporter is going to press this week, the board is considering an incredibly ambitious bond schedule plan that would have the board determine the scope, scale and cost of the bond during one meeting in August after taking a much-needed break from its regular meetings in July.
At that same meeting in August, the board may try to adopt a community engagement program for the bond. Three other meetings would be held to work on details of the proposed bond vote with the board approving a warning for the November vote on September 15.
This is an incredibly important project, critical to the future of not just Harwood Union High School, but also both of the district’s middle schools -- Crossett Brook Middle School and Harwood Union Middle School.
It’s is too important to be rushed. This has to be done right, and it has to be done once versus holding repeated revotes. The community needs time to be brought into the process. The community outreach needs to be broad and deep.
Serving on the new unified union school board has never been a walk in the park, but the last 15 months have been particularly difficult for a board that has, with its administrators, had to manage COVID, COVID safety protocols and the host of other regular issues that come up.
Even without trying to bring a bond to voters this November, the board still has a lot on its plate including renaming Thatcher Brook Primary School, the many unanswered process questions around the firing of hockey coach Jacob Grout, initiating the process of hiring a new superintendent to replace Superintendent Brigid Nease in June 2022, preparing next year’s budget and more.
Given that some of the federal COVID relief funds that the state has received can be used for education construction, it makes sense to do that research, thoroughly vet and review the scope and scale of the bond, take the time to connect and educate the community about the need for the bond and its ramifications (including combining middle schools) and bring it to voters next spring.