Letter: School project is in children’s best interest

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To the editor,

It is time to do what is best for our children. We have waited long enough for a new Algonquin School and have dealt with safety concerns at Laurel Ledge School. These school projects have continually been put on the back burner.

A vote “yes” on Dec. 20 will eliminate an outdated Algonquin School that currently has no gym or media center. Gym classes are being held in a padded downstairs room. Algonquin is 60 years old. Except for a roof replacement, nothing has been done. There is no handicap accessibility and Prospect special ed students are bussed to Laurel Ledge in Beacon Falls.

In Prospect, there are currently two buildings — K-3 at Algonquin and fourth and fifth at Community School. This involves two principals, two nurses, and duplicate custodial and cafeteria workers. The septic system is built under the parking lot and the wall to the cafeteria is sinking.

If we don’t build a new school, we will be throwing money into repairs in the future.

The four-room annex will be sued for offices for the school region. Currently, we are paying $56,000 annually to Gene Lewis, who has been a most patient landlord.

Laurel Ledge’s campus style has individual buildings and open walkways. In inclement weather, children have to be fully dressed and undressed to go to the cafeteria, gym, nurse’s office, and school office. This takes away 10 to 12 minutes of classroom time. I also worry about safety issues due to accessibility by outside sources.

We already own the land. The prospect school will cost $36.6 million and Laurel Ledge $7.7 million and $2.4 million for the regional school office. Locally, after state reimbursement, the taxpayers will pay $19.7 million. State reimbursement is 68 percent. If we wait until next year, it will undoubtedly drop.

Current bonds on Community, Laurel Ledge, and Long River will be paid by 2017. We will continue to pay for the high school.

These communities have long been committed to the children in Region 16. Let’s complete the building process by voting “yes” on Dec. 20.

Thank you to the superintendent of schools, Board of Education, staff, and building committee for the countless hours they have spent on these projects.

Marie Delage

Former Region 16 Board of Education member

Prospect