Letter: Moral Dilemma for Mascoma Voters
To the Editor:
The Jan. 28 article “Mascoma Has Complex Plan For Its Voters” presents a moral dilemma for Canaan, Dorchester, Enfield, Grafton and Orange voters in March: Support a $23.8 million renovation plan for the high school or help our hard-working neighbors who are trying build or maintain a nest egg on fixed or low incomes.
My husband attended a number of board meetings armed with logical, statistically supported figures to request consideration of a less aggressive plan for our small communities. He was shouted down and assailed by some board members with the untrue charge that he “doesn’t care” about our schoolchildren.
It appears that the School Board has earned the accusation that they don’t care about our neighbors with their total refusal to consider a more financially realistic plan. Education funding already consumes a lion’s share of our property taxes, and now the board wants to burden us with a back-breaking bond issue. With additional operating expenses for an auditorium, larger and more classrooms, plus future raises and related costs, we may as well turn our paychecks and Social Security over to the school district.
Many of our neighbors wonder how they will afford to survive in the future, let alone retire. It makes one wonder if the School Board has even noticed recent headlines such as, “More Workers Raid Retirement Accounts to Pay Bills,” or those that report rising health care costs, underwater mortgages, high unemployment and a tenuous economy.
The plan to add an auditorium, add classrooms and expand current classrooms is totally inappropriate for a small school district with limited resources (as recognized by small school districts across our country). What makes this a total travesty is every grade in the entire Mascoma School District is shrinking every year, and the high school classrooms already exceed the state minimum square feet per student by a very wide margin.
Every resident, whether renters, homeowners or home buyers, will feel the pain, but some will break under the load. Will Mascoma Valley Regional School District voters have a heart in March?