Valley News Forum for March 11, 2023: Support the move for Cornish’s library

Published: 03-11-2023 5:48 AM

Support the move for Cornish library

I bought my house in Cornish in 1970, in part, because everyone I spoke to told me that the people here are kind and community-minded. I have found that to be true. With organizations like Aging in Place, Neighbor to Neighbor, and other groups we look out for our people.

We have failed to do enough for our library. Bernice Johnson, a trustee for decades, could not go to the library when she got old because the steps up were too steep. The town has not made any effort to provide handicapped access or to provide a bathroom and running water. “It’s too expensive,” I was told when I asked about that, years ago.

Now we have an opportunity: the donation of the former Cornish General Store to the town, and a group of citizens willing to pay to upgrade and improve the former general store. So far over $550,000 has been pledged, including $350,000 from the estate of Laird Klingler — made with the caveat that the money only be used for renovations to the store for a library and community center.

The renovations of the store will cost the town nothing, and will provide space for meetings of people in town for a variety of purposes. Our town needs a place where people can gather, and this will provide it. It will, I hope, build community and serve all as we move forward.

And what about the current library? I spoke to David Kruidenier, president of the Cornish Historical Society, who, although not speaking on behalf of the historical society board, believes that the Stowell building would provide the CHS with a significant opportunity to expand its own collections and services while becoming the stewards of this historic building.

I urge all to go online and see the proposed new library space as envisioned by the architect, along with thoughts by townspeople. It’s at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pjayE5bmrxU.

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We only get one chance to accept this new space for our library. Please vote yes on March 18. Come early, the meeting starts at 10 a.m. and it will be the second item voted on.

Henry Homeyer

Cornish Flat

Croydon’s superintendent and budget are on point

Croydon is extremely fortunate to have a school superintendent who has very professionally supported our public K-4 school and our school choice program so effectively. Frank Perotti has worked diligently throughout this year of unprecedented turmoil around school funding and chronic short staffing. The position includes the responsibilities of superintendent, special education director and mentoring our principal until she completes graduate work and is credentialed. Frank is the definition of “calm under fire” as he is continually treated by the Croydon School Board chair in a condescending, mean and unprofessional way yet never loses patience. He always keeps the focus on the school operations and what is needed for the students. Inviting his colleagues and the school clerk to observe his performance review was a completely reasonable action when it has been clear for months that the chair has a vendetta against Frank.

The proposed 2023-24 school budget is level-funded to this year. That is quite impressive in this time of increased inflation, higher fuel costs and a very competitive market for teachers.

According to the budget presented by business manager Beth Bierwirth at the February hearing, the proposed total of $1,704,759 for 77 students is a cost per student of $22,139. This is certainly not an insignificant amount, but the state average for 2021-22 (latest available) is $23,043. The real issue in the cost of schools is not at the local level — it is the lack of state funding despite 30 years of court cases. I think most of the voters in Croydon are very clear who supports our community school.

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