Letter: District Unity in Mascoma

To the Editor:

If the Mascoma School Board meeting April 22 is what democracy is all about (“Mascoma Board Defies Critics With Construction Committee,” April 23), we might as well live in a dictatorship, where public opinion is ignored, secret agendas and meetings are concocted, and transparency expunged. The leadership of the Mascoma board just went ahead and set up a building renovation subcommittee made up of the chairman, vice chairman and a fervent board supporter of both, without a mention of a vote in prior public minutes. Obviously the choices had already been made.

We have a $23 million project ahead of the school district, with a subcommittee in charge composed of three people devoid of commercial construction experience and expertise. How are these individuals going to scrutinize technical drawings and bidding specifications? They are not equipped, and will be at the mercy of commercial construction management consultants. The newly appointed School Board member from Canaan would have been an excellent choice for the committee because of her commercial building and engineering background. For political reasons, the leadership scuttled her possible membership on the subcommittee.

The school bond was passed and the will of the public was evident, and it is now time to focus on the job at hand and to embrace all the skills and human resources we have in the district. That objective seems to be on hold.

In a past article posted in the Valley News soon after the bond vote, the superintendent stressed a need to reach out to the opponents of the school renovation with the hope of achieving district unity. With the actions of the board last week, this seems like a remote possibility.

John Franz