Support for Brookfield school building referendum on March 5
On March 5th Brookfield will vote on a school building referendum. I will be up front, I support this initiative.
The Board of Education has proposed replacing Center and Huckleberry schools with a single new school building that will house grades Pre-K through 5th grade. The school is to be built on the property behind Huckleberry. The net cost is about $63 million. It is the largest project Brookfield has ever attempted and I hope the community will get behind it and show it with a large turnout.
The schools have needed major work for more than a decade and it has taken us this long to get to this point of decision. There are major safety and access concerns as well as a need to upgrade to current standards. After more than a year of study, the Board of Ed decision came down to two alternatives — renovate the existing schools or consolidate and build one new school. The Board of Education’s recommendation is to build a new school. In this recommendation they made the right decision, from an education perspective and a financial one.
Doing nothing is not an option. There is clearly a cost advantage to the new school proposal. My analysis shows, considering the impact to the homeowner, the difference between the renovate vs. build new is relatively small. The median priced home, $340,000, can expect to pay just $70 more a year for the new school vs. the renovation. A new consolidated school will undoubtedly see some operating cost savings. Clearly that cost difference will be less. Given the small incremental cost there are significant benefits of a new school in terms of safety and educational opportunities by creating a new modern learning environment for our children.
Please join me on March 5th by supporting this initiative.
The writer is a former member of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance.