Mt. Greylock project too costly, ambitious
To the editor:
The Mount Greylock Regional High School facility needs to be updated. Throughout the development process the School and Building Committees were asked repeatedly by Lanesborough officials and some citizens to offer a project in the $45M+/- range and that by doing so they would be far more likely to expect the support they needed from our community. Rather, the School Committee opted to bring forward a $64M project and enter into a game of chicken with the Lanesborough Selectmen. The imbroglio we are in is the result of the committees' asking us to endorse a substantially more expensive design.
If this is truly for the students and they alone, some of the other lower cost re-use plans would have been thoroughly optimized but they were not — one can fail at anything if they try hard enough. We've been told that there is no other plan to be considered because this was developed around the only educational plan that the state approved. This argument is disingenuous at best since this is the only educational plan that the committee submitted to the state.
If this project is all for the students then some of the organizational issues that have weighed on the district would have been dealt with before asking us to commit to a tremendous debt. One of course is the perennial argument over the wisdom of the tuition arrangements. While the School Committee has made inroads, a tuition rate of $12,506 is still $6,500 less than the actual cost to educate a student. If this is solely for the students there would be honest attempts to maximize revenues, but year after year this practice took place with rates even further from parity while we were told that there were no funds to maintain the building.
The School Committee declared to the SBA that we have the responsibility to educate 535 students, but somewhere between 100 and 125 of them come from towns other than Lanesborough or Williamstown. There is no enforceable process to collect funds from these other towns for this building project (which would be distinct from tuition payments that offset operating expenses) designed to house their students. So a yes vote means that you will build and pay for a facility for other towns and they will not pay a penny for it.
Please vote on March 15 and please vote your conscience not what the thought police expect you to vote. Some would have you believe that the defeat of this project will be our fault. It won't be. The fault lies at the feet of those whom put this plan before you.
Timothy J O'Brien, Lanesborough