To the Editor:
We write to urge all Newtown and Sandy Hook residents to vote Yes in the October 5 referendum regarding Sandy Hook School. There are many, many emotional reasons why we believe SHS belongs back in Sandy Hook, but frankly they are all completely irrelevant here. Sandy Hook School needs to be rebuilt in Sandy Hook for reasons that are all practical and sensible – here are just a few:
Most importantly, restoring an elementary school in Sandy Hook ensures that our school district will have adequate educational space for our students of today and tomorrow. Although enrollment is declining at present, it is not low enough to close a school now, and it is uncertain whether enrollment will continue to decline such that a school would need to be closed in the future. It makes no sense at all to decline the state grant on the presumption that enrollment will continue to decrease and we “might” not need the school in the future. What will happen if the town doesn’t build the school, enrollment stabilizes or begins to increase, and then we really do need that school building back? We must accept this opportunity to restore educational space to what is needed now, and to ensure that Newtown and Sandy Hook have the structural resources to provide for our students of the future.
Restoring the school in Sandy Hook gives Sandy Hook Center businesses an added path toward prosperity. Without SHS as a draw for traffic, Sandy Hook Center businesses likely face a tougher battle for vitality, and all of us who live our lives and raise our families in Sandy Hook and Newtown would suffer losses with them.
Though our own children will outgrow the new SHS before it opens in 2016, we know restoring the school gives all Sandy Hook and Newtown families what they deserve: enough space in which to properly learn and grow. If you have questions or doubt the necessity of this plan to rebuild SHS, please visit First Selectman Llodra’s or Superintendent Reed’s extended office hours or public question sessions (listed in The Bee) this week or next. This project is too important to the strength of our entire community to risk being misinformed or uninformed.
There will be no second chance if this referendum fails. We implore you to schedule this vote as you would your child’s weekend game or your dentist appointment – you need to be there. If you can’t be at NMS on October 5, vote by absentee ballot available at the Town Clerk’s office. The reasons to vote Yes are purely sensible, but an added benefit to high voter turnout and an overwhelming Yes vote will be the support of Sandy Hook that you will demonstrate to our town’s families and teachers, and the world – they will be watching.
Lynn and Ryland Edwards
3 Sand Hill Road, Sandy Hook September 23, 2013