To the Editor:
If someone gives you a gift, the gracious thing to do is to accept it. The $50 million dollar grant that the state is willing to give to Newtown is no different. It should be accepted without question.
If the grant is accepted, it does not have to be repaid, it is a free gift. This will provide us with a brand new state-of-the-art school for our children. There are no strings attached here, even though it seems almost too good to be true. A new school for us without an increase in taxes? Yes, that is what is occurring here.
If the grant to rebuild the Sandy Hook School is declined by the people of Newtown, there will only be three functioning elementary schools. This may cause a redistricting to occur. For some parents, this means that their kids would have to switch to a new school and make new friends; for some parents, this means nothing. At some point, those three elementary schools will probably become overcrowded; I’m sure our four elementary school design was made for a reason. As a short term solution, the town will have to use mobile classrooms, which will be paid for by everyone in Newtown as it will result in an increase in everyone’s taxes. Another option at that point in time will be to renovate the existing Sandy Hook School. This is estimated to cost around $42 million today (but the cost will probably have gone up due to inflation), but guess what? Now, the town of Newtown will have to pay for this out-of-pocket and once again, this will ultimately cause everyone’s taxes to go up. When that time comes, I’m sure there will be a lot of regret for not having accepted the free grant when it was initially offered. Is this what we really want?
I have lived in Newtown since 2005 and every year we have struggled to get the budget to pass. The biggest issue everyone always seems to have is that they don’t want their taxes to go up. To me, accepting this grant is a no brainer. If we want our taxes to remain flat while still getting a state of the art, world class new school, then we vote YES on October 5. Anyone who votes no on October 5 must be out of their mind.
15 Sanford Road, Newtown September 23, 2013