Truly a shame that the opposition has resorted to such a tactic. Here are the Executive Director Katherine Craven's own words from the meeting with Longmeadow residents on May 18th 2010.
Question: "CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT A LETTER WAS SENT FROM THE MSBA TO THE LONGMEADOW SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE IN NOVEMBER 2009 ASKING THAT THE SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE RESUBMIT THEIR PROPOSAL WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING BUILDING RENOVATION?"
Answer: Yes, When we first looked at the initial-this is not unusual either-as I said before, our general impulse is to renovate when we can-because we have less surprises potentially about the building SITE in a lost of places. We needed clarification on the renovation costs-we thought it was very high when it first came into us and then we realized the level of effort that was required in a renovation including that all of the structures within the building would have to be completely gutted. We thought that the unit costs for the foundation seem a little high. We'd gone back and forth with the Town and their professionals on all of these minute details--and that's NOT AN UNUSUAL thing for us because before I would make any recommendations to Treasurer Cahill and the Board of the MSBA, I want to make sure that we had all the answers on the costing.
There were several things , as I mentioned before MULTIPLE TIMES, that convinced us that the new school building was probably the more COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTION for Longmeadow High School's problems. The structural problem in the front, ADA in the building, the subterranean sort of utilities and issues--those things would have had to be pulled out. 4.5 years of phased renovation vs 2.25 years of new building phasing. Those are ALL VERY COMPELLING reasons that we thought that the new building scenario that was presented to us--after hearing the CLARIFICATIONS on the reno REALLY MADE SENSE TO US.
Question: "WHAT ROLE DID CONGRESSMAN NEAL, STATE SENATOR CANDARAS, AND STATE REP ASHE PLAY REGARDING THE LONGMEADOW SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE DISCUSSIONS WITH THE MSBA DID THESE OFFICIALS IN ANY WAY INTERACT WITH THE MSBA ON BEHALF OF THE LONGMEADOW SBC, AND IF SO IN WHAT CAPACITY AND TO WHAT OUTCOME?"
Answer: I talked to Sen Candaras and Rep Ashe all the time as part of my job, We're an agency that has to do annual reports to the legislature. We have a lot of sets of eyes watching how we spend your money. The time that any legislator could actually affect any decision by the Authority is whether or not to put you in the pipeline to begin with.
There are plenty of districts just waiting to get to the position that Longmeadow is in right now. There are probably ONLY 70 DISTRICTS that are in the pipeline to the extent that Longmeadow is and I can point out to you that it is BECAUSE of the STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS that I can't point to any other district buildings that aren't in the pipeline for 34MILLION right now.
The whole question of whether a congressman, rep or senator or even GOD could influence this project could only have occurred prior to you getting into the pipeline.
LUCKILY YOUR CONDITIONS WERE SO BAD THAT WE TOOK YOU ALMOST RIGHT AWAY--after a 4 year moratorium.
You have every right to question us for our veracity, credibility, track record but I'm happy to say that we actually have a good track record of doing what we say. We wouldn't be here today if we did not follow through--and we have the money for you set aside. We tried to set up something that is SO ABOVE BOARD AND CREDIBLE that is outside the usual process and that's what the legislature basically said to do. "
Ms. Craven spent a significant amout of time answering questions from Mr. Moran, Mr Occhuiti, Mr. Nolet and Mr. Wojik. In fact, Mr. Nolet asked Ms. Craven to send us MORE money! She answered all of their questions completely and truthfully.
Mr. Moran's last minute attack on the process and the integrity of the School Building Committee is his last shot of bolstering his candidate's support. Sad that Mr. Moran and the members of A Better Longmeadow have to resort to dirty politics to try and spread fear and doubt when this process has been completely tranparent!