Donald Torrey: Describes opposition to new Easthampton school

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Describes opposition to new Easthampton school

In the age of transparency in Easthampton, I would like to point out a couple of things.

1) On June 13 at 6 p.m. the city will hold its first public meeting regarding the mandatory federal storm drain fee, commonly know as the “rain tax” in Northampton. The city has known about this for three years, but has been able to postpone it. It is sad that we don’t know what it will be before the school vote.

2) The city is only offering two options regarding the School Department: a new $109 million new school or bringing the three elementary and one middle school up to code.

The third option is not mentioned and that would be to repair what needs to be repaired, which is different from bringing a school up to code. In homeowner terms, this is the difference between adding or replacing a new electric outlet in a kitchen to rewiring the entire house to bring it up to current code. Even if someone else offers to pays half the cost to bring it up to code, it may not be affordable. This option has not been talked about and may be the best option for the city.

Maple Elementary School is currently showing better test scores than other area schools that are in newer buildings, suggesting it is more about what is going on inside, than the bricks and mortar. How often have I heard that teachers teach students — not the buildings or buses.

Remember, City Hall is only open four days a week and the city has zero dollars to spend on road repairs.

I will be voting “no” for other reasons, mainly because I find it unacceptable to ask seniors that have paid for all the new buildings during their working lifetime to pay the giant property tax increase while on a fixed income.

Donald Torrey