Letter: Mascoma Can’t Delay Forever
To the Editor:
Malcolm Love is missing the point (“New Mascoma Plan Is Unaffordable,” Oct. 1). The Mascoma High School renovation project is not about enrollment, but rather the fact that the building is unsafe, 50-years-old without major updates, and that educational techniques and technology have changed significantly since it was built in 1962.
Mascoma cannot put the renovation off indefinitely. Unity tried to do that by voting down renovation proposals. Now it is busing its entire student population 45 minutes each day to two separate locations in Claremont while it tries to finish its new school. How much would it cost to tuition and bus Mascoma students to Plymouth, Hanover, Newfound and Lebanon? Imagine what the high school experience would be for the students who had to endure a year or two of that? Sooner or later we will have to pay the bill. Let’s do it while interest rates are still relatively low.
The renovation received over 59 percent of the vote last March. It would be irresponsible to abandon a project with that much support. Over $2.2 million in cuts were made, but construction costs have risen. The longer we put this off, the more expensive it is going to be.
This year’s kindergarten class is as big as the senior class, but let’s pretend Love’s 2020 enrollment projections are accurate. Why should the community tolerate “only” 331 students learning in an unsafe, outdated building? Because it is not 361? That is a decline of fewer than 2 students per classroom.
I would remind those senior citizens living on fixed incomes that, although their taxes will go up if a renovation project is approved, so will the value of their homes. Who is going to want to buy their house in a school district perceived as inadequate?
In the end, though, the real reason to support the project is that it is simply the right thing to do for our kids! We all benefit from an educated society.