To The Editor:
In 2015 the proposal for fixing Harwood was $17 million with three levels of priority spending. Level 1) $4,438,988. Level 2) $9,941,597. Level 3) $2,650,536. The board and administration refused to allow voters to choose any options other than the whole $17 million. Some years later there was a proposal for $30 million. Here we are in 2021 asking for $60 million -- all or nothing again.
In the meantime, there had been some $2 million placed in maintenance funds as a result of unfunded leftover budget monies. Those funds could have been returned to taxpayers, but we voted to have those funds available for repairs and maintenance. The people running Harwood could have used those funds to fix things. They chose instead to use taxpayer money to study to death everything we have said umpteen times we don't want. I wonder how many new desks could have been purchased for all the money wasted on studies, lawyers, ads, voting and other stuff associated with hounding voters to give them what they want.
Voters want to know what needs to be done and not what everybody wants. I'll start it off: We do not need another gymnasium. The board listened to people who want one but we all know we don't need another one. We don't need to take half the students out of Harwood and ship them to CBMS. We do need to fix a number of building issues at Harwood. We do not need to move the superintendent's office into Harwood. Move them to CBMS or Fayston, where there apparently is space without additional costs.
I hope the majority of reasonable people vote no and demand the board tackle any major safety issues now using any/all funds available. The board needs to change its thinking and bring forward a very trimmed-down bond request we can vote for that will address needs in priority level 1. They need to listen and stop pushing to move students out of Harwood and add on to CBMS. They need to leave the current configuration of the elementary schools alone.
It is past time for the current board to grow a spine and put taxpayers first and stop treating us as selfish and uncaring when in truth it has been the board and administration that has been unreasonable and incredibly insensitive towards those who have been struggling to survive these past two years. Stop saying a $60 million bond isn't going to be too painful for the average homeowner for the next 20/30 years. It is insulting.
Some may think that at 75 years of age I shouldn't care about this because I won't live to see this bond paid off. Well, I do care. I care that young people can't afford to pay close to $6,000 a year in property taxes on a house listed under $300,000 and those numbers will just keep going up if nobody says no. What happens when homestead refunds are wiped out? Am I the only one to think that is a possibility at some point during the next 30 years? Just asking.
Sue Anne Stager