Submitted by 17 District 12 RTM Representatives (See list below)
Dear Board of Selectmen, Members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and Members of the Board of Education:
The undersigned Representatives of Greenwich RTM District 12 join and support our friends and neighbors in District 6 in imploring you to revisit the Old Greenwich School renovation project and take steps to advance the project with a greater sense of urgency, commercial savvy, and confidence in the judgment and talents of the Old Greenwich School Building Committee. We acknowledge and thank the BOE for supporting and unanimously endorsing the Building Committee’s work and recommendations.
Families move to Greenwich because of the public schools! Yet school after school ends up in disrepair. School projects have increased by multi-millions of dollars because of the “kick the can down the road” mentality of some members of the BET. When interest rates were low was the time to renovate, upgrade and make every Greenwich school ADA compliant. Neglect and indifference have put us in the position we are in now – but as fiduciaries for the town we still must act.
Now is the time to move forward on the OGS renovation. We understand that the Building Committee has concretely and swiftly answered all of your questions, has received unanimous support from the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Education, is getting ready to start the Municipal Improvement process, is finalizing its design and preparing to get professional estimates on that design, and has communicated that it will be ready to start the renovation in spring 2024 if construction funding is provided. We also understand that credible options have been presented to do this project at the same time as Central Middle School with a negligible impact on the mill rate.
And yet, we see that the BET once again deferred construction funding for the OGS renovation for another year. Our children should not have to pay the price for past fiscal negligence.
We have heard some members of the BET say only one project can be funded at a time. This is not true and the residents of Greenwich know it. Given your Professional Expertise as members of the BET, you know full well there are ways to fund multiple projects at one time.
We can and must fund what is needed to get these educational building projects up and running. An important decision must be made. We are asking each of you, before you make your final budget determinations, to reflect on whether or not you will honor our fundamental obligations to each other. The BET must be supportive of all public schools in Greenwich.
Today you need to ask yourselves: are we a town that values each other, a town of people who believe we are all responsible for bringing forth healthy, loved, and humanely educated children? Are we a town that chooses to take the path of nimble and creative fiscal decisions to determine the quality of our daily lives and the education of our children? Or, are we a town held back by arbitrary rationalizations of overly restrictive budget choices and singularly unimpressive performance metrics? Postponing school projects and cutting school funding are statements of values which do not reflect the priorities of the people of Greenwich.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with our children, parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends in the clear and thoughtful belief that fully funding the proposed OGS renovation project, and other school building projects, has the support and endorsement of the broader Greenwich community.
As elected members of the BET you need to listen to the people of Greenwich and fund our school projects. You need to fund our school projects now…not 1 year from now…not 4 years from now…not decades from now. Find a way. Make it happen. It’s not impossible. On the contrary, a flexible change of attitude on this and other school funding issues will better reflect our true principles.
Your real time decisions to fund our schools can be a welcome course correction. Supporting OGS and all our schools is the right decision to make.
Seventeen District 12 RTM Representatives:
Craig W. Amundson
Glen A. Canner
Mary Connolly Flynn
Barbara Galton Hindman
Jonathan A. Kantor
Mary A. Keller, RN
Chalon W. Lefebvre
Aaron J. Leonard
Robert T. May
Abigail R. McCarthy
Richard S. Montier
Jocelyn Y. Riddle
Andrew S. Winston