Letter: Residents Should be Informed Before Mount Greylock Vote

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To the Editor:

To the People of Lanesborough and its Board of Selectmen

Greetings. I have the privilege of serving on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee. I attended the Lanesborough Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, Jan. 25. I was heartened that the board allowed many audience members to speak, balancing the desire to hear our voices and move through a lengthy agenda. I was allowed to state my views several times, and I thank them for that courtesy and for scheduling a vote on the building project on March 15. I strongly urge members of both our towns to inform themselves of the facts of the building project (see http://www.wlschools.org/page.cfm?p=534) and vote as they see fit.

However, I am also saddened that only one of the three members of the board wanted the vote on March 1 (see http://www.iberkshires.com/story/51081/Lanesborough-Sets-Debt-Exclusion-Vote-For-High-School-Project.html; this note is an expansion of my comment to that article). While it is too late now to move the vote up, it is worthwhile for members of the town to be aware of the actions of the board, to let them know if you support or oppose such decisions, and the consequences of these choices.

An earlier vote would be advantageous for several reasons, including:

(1) it would be the same day as the vote in Williamstown, and thus if approved allow for an earlier bonding and lessen the risk that interest rates would rise and significantly increase the cost of the project,

(2) it would save the town money by not requiring a second public vote, and

(3) it would save the members of the town time by not requiring them to make two separate trips to vote.

Several people repeatedly asked for reasons why the March 15 date was chosen over the March 1. Selectman Sayers advanced the argument that more time was needed for people to research the issue; I feel this is disingenous at best, as we have had open meetings over the years where concerns have been raised and discussed, and have distributed information time and time again on the project (see http://www.wlschools.org/page.cfm...).

However, at least that's a reason. Chairman Goerlach on multiple occasions refused to state a reason favoring the 15th, instead repeating that he had already decided before the meeting to favor the 15th. I find this unfortunate, as several new facts surfaced at the meeting. The town clerk asserted that, contrary to her initial concerns, it would be advantageous to have it on the 1st at the same time as the presidential primaries. The chair of the school committee said that while both days work, the 1st would be better.

I remember the concerns we had on last year's budget; in particular, when the school committee voted to add back $9,100 (less $4,500 we were getting back from the state) to fund the high school principal's top priority: meetings between middle school teachers. There was concern on this expense from the Lanesborough Selectmen, and in the end the selectmen voted against the school budget (it also added back $30,000 for the after-school bus). Now we're spending more than Lanesborough's share of that expense on surveys to residents and holding elections on a second day.

The silence of the selectmen on their reasons seem to suggest that there is an excess of money to be spent on duplication of resources and time to go to meeting after meeting; I would rather use those funds for our schools and other town services, and that time for working on ways to strengthen our schools and the ties between our communities.

Steven Miller
Williamstown, Mass.



Tags: MGRHS school project,   

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