Submitted by Leslie Moriarty, Democratic Caucus Chair, Board of Estimate and Taxation
The Board of Education Master Facilities Plan has generated extensive discussion about the need for additional investment to bring our school facilities into the 21 st century.
When the BET votes on April 1 to approve the FY22 budget, I will be supporting the inclusion of design funds for the Julian Curtiss School renovation project and the BOE-approved Educational Specifications.
The BOE Master Plan addressed a number of urgent issues such as aging infrastructure, accessibility, lack of compliance with the Americans With Disability Act (ADA), security, air quality, as well as undersized common spaces and facility enhancements to modernize our buildings. The Educational Specifications approved by the BOE for this project address all those concerns so that the building will function more efficiently, more safely and more effectively.
During the budget deliberation, some members of the BET indicated that they are considering overruling the BOE. These members’ comments appeared to support only the highest priority issues of accessibility, security and air quality, while withholding support for the full array of revised Ed Specifications that are imbedded in the Board of Ed’s Master Plan for modernizing Julian Curtiss. There is no dispute that the high priority issues need to be addressed, but the opportunity to address other inadequacies in the buildings at the same time results in lower
costs and better functionality. A major alteration of the Board of Ed proposal, rejecting the school modernization Ed Specifications essentially would represent a vote of no confidence not only in the Julian Curtiss plan but in the upcoming projects for Old Greenwich and Riverside Schools as well as the other schools that are part of the overall Master Plan. We hope that on April 1, when the full BET votes, restrictive conditions are not submitted.
Greenwich prides itself on an excellent public school system and supports the schools with funding for staff and programs, but now we need to show our support for our aging facilities as well. I hope that the BET will vote to move forward with the necessary funding to enable the schools’ Master Facility Plan to proceed without delay.
Democratic Caucus Chair, Board of Estimate and Taxation