To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The cost of $56 million for the renovation of the Monument Mountain High School is breathtaking. We think, and so do many others, that the Select Board and School Committee of Great Barrington should reconsider their position on the proposed MMRHS renovation and find a less costly alternative.
According to National statistics, the median cost for new high school construction in 2011 was $55,000/student which includes the cost for site work and shell. The latest comparable figure for New York City is about $75,000/student for new construction. This proposed renovation project comes to over $100,000/student, which is simply too expensive no matter who pays for it What’s going on? Is there an additional educational return to this kind of overpayment? According to the Finance Committee the project will add 15 percent to the real estate tax.
This is on top of the recently introduced CPA of about 3 percent. The Finance Committee also reported an upcoming need for the rehabilitation of the storm sewer system at a cost of $18 million, to be covered by still more taxes.
Adding insult to injury, the allocation of the cost with other participating communities is heavily skewed to disadvantage Great Barrington.
Great Barrington voters can help finding a less costly solution to the upgrade of the MMRHS by voting "no" on Nov. 5, at least until a more realistic plan is developed.