Conte project is not a solution

Friday March 15, 2013

We were both born in North Adams, raised in North Adams, live in North Adams and are raising our family in North Adams. For 53 years, this community has been our home and our world. We both walked up Kemp Avenue as children to the New East (now Sullivan) school. We marveled at how it was so beautiful and the beautiful area it was built on.

We are taxpayers, and parents of a Sullivan school child, so we are completely vested in getting the very best for our community and for our child. We are not against borrowing or paying taxes for education and services.

But, we do not believe that the choice brought forward to our community is the best solution for our educational future. Conte (which was Drury), was shut down for many reasons, and throwing money at it is does not change those inherent logistical issues. On another note, why was this project not put out to bid like other projects in the city? There seems to be this mantra that the enhancements to the existing elementary schools, both Sullivan and Greylock, will not be covered by the state or will be inadequate to cover our education future. We strongly disagree with this tone.

There is no evidence to support that the cost will be more than the current $6+ million that we as a community will pay for the Conte project, and in fact by the estimates we have heard, even if the state pays nothing the total cost of both schools can be done for $4 million. Will the taxpayers be more inclined to pay less for two better schools?

There has been a lot said about why we should have the Conte project, but as pointed out in a very well thought out and well written position earlier by a well informed citizen, this is not a project that should have any considerations on the economic impact to our community, but that seems to be one of the central tenants of why we should have the project. It appears that the project’s focus was lost: it should be about the best interests of the children.

There are so many options that we should be considering (e.g. Wal-Mart, 830 Curran Highway), but the question begs what will happen to these two schools? Will there be more decaying buildings? We also hear that this project has been vetted. Well, clearly it has not been, as we were part of the survey team that collected signatures, door to door, and in the neighborhood that we surveyed there was a 30-5 opinion against the Conte project. Incidentally, this occurred on a Saturday afternoon from the hours of 1 to 3 p.m. and was accompanied by a thorough, thoughtful discourse on the subject.

We as a community deserve better. Let’s vote Conte funding down and force our local public servants to get us a better solution.



North Adams


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