Monday, October 27, 2008

Longmeadow High School Feasibility Study

On Tuesday, October 28th and Tuesday, November 4th, the voters of Longmeadow have an opportunity to responsibly plan for the future of our children and our town. This can only happen with a vote of YES on Articles 6 & 7 at Town Meeting and Question #4 on the election ballot to authorize a Feasibility Study to investigate renovation or new construction at the high school. I urge you to join me in voting yes for the following reasons:

1) The high school desperately needs to be renovated or rebuilt. As anyone who attended or watched the recent building tours or forums with the School Building Committee knows, the building does not help promote student learning. Our students are learning in spite of the building and thanks to their hard work and the dedication of the high school teachers. The town’s students and teachers deserve a building that facilitates their intellectual engagement and does not serve as a distraction.

2) This project demonstrates responsible stewardship of town resources. As our largest town owned building, upkeep of the high school is the responsibility of every adult resident in Longmeadow. In order to make a truly informed decision on the fate of the high school, we must complete this comprehensive Feasibility Study. Without it, we cannot proceed responsibly.

3) This is the only way we can receive state aid to help pay for the project. The state has committed $2.5 billion over five years to support school building projects. Thanks to the hard work of our town leaders, Longmeadow was one of only 49 schools (15 high schools) out of 423 submissions chosen by the state to proceed with the state funding process. If we fail to support the Feasibility Study, it is doubtful that we will become eligible for state funding for the high school in the near future.

4) The financial impact is minimal. We are voting to fund a $750,000 study which will cost the average Longmeadow taxpayer (home value of $370,000) $30 per year for five years (total of $150). This is an excellent investment in the future of the town. The Feasibility Study will both provide us with the information necessary to make an informed decision on renovation versus new construction and enable us to obtain millions of dollars in aid from the state once we make the decision. We need to take this first step in order to proceed further with the state.

5) This project will help keep Longmeadow an attractive place to live and work. Longmeadow’s outstanding reputation in the region is due, in part, to our long-standing commitment to high quality public education. Passage of funding for the Feasibility Study will continue this positive tradition and send a strong signal to families looking to move into the area and teachers looking for the best employment opportunities that Longmeadow is committed to quality facilities and the long term improvement of our high school.

In closing, I hope you will join me in supporting the future of our town; vote YES on Articles 6 & 7 and Question #4.