Letter: Don’t Oversimplify Mascoma Vote
To the Editor:
It unfortunate that the vote on renovating Mascoma Regional High School was boiled down to a black and white issue when, in fact, most who voted against it found good in the plan, but also too much fat. It is even more unfortunate that in an article published right after the vote, School Board member Claudette Peck categorized those who voted against the plan as residents who “didn’t see the value of education in the district.” Borrowing her phrase, it is “painfully sad” that the School Board’s communications chair and other board members have consistently promoted this falsehood about those who did not agree with their entire proposal.
There was not one Forum letter expressing opposition to the renovation that did not recognize the need for safety and comfort upgrades at Mascoma High. I know of many nay voters who would have voted yea had the plan been consistent with the economics of our communities, or had there been a separate article on the absolutely necessary improvements.
Bob Cusick’s March 8 letter essentially admitted that the plan had $7.9 million in fat when he stated that the auditorium and other expansions were “only” one-third of the plan — only $7.9 million, that is. For struggling taxpayers, that is a lot of money for unnecessary additions.
One comment in a recent article indicated “apathy” caused the voting results. How can anybody call the turnout apathetic? The closeness of the vote did reflect that the School Board did everything possible over the past year to get the bond passed. Let’s hope that the board puts as much effort this year in promoting a plan that recognizes the continuing plummet in the Mascoma school system’s enrollment for which expansion is clearly not warranted.
As taxpayers and advocates of good education, we are among the many in our communities who are appalled at the wasted time and tax dollars that have been used to promote an inflated, unnecessary plan for the past several years. The necessary renovations could have been well under way or completed by now had the plan been more realistic.