Of MISA and men

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

The plans of mice and men go oft awry and so it is with MISA.

MISA is the centerpiece of our public schools’ capital plans and will be a brilliant addition to Greenwich’s educational facilities and indeed to the town as a whole. The new price-tag of $42 million still places MISA in an acceptable cost range compared to similar projects in other towns, still gives us value for money and is still completely affordable. MISA adds to the value proposition of Greenwich and I predict that it will become a super-magnet for young families looking to settle in the area.

Sadly, this vision seems not to be shared by Republicans on the Board of Estimate and Taxation and some unwanted and unsavory politics are now intruding. The BET’s budget committee predictably split along party lines with Republicans citing a tough economic environment, questioning whether the plan was the right one (really, after eight years?) and criticizing the Board of Education for lack of cooperation.

What nonsense this all is.

The educational specifications have been thoroughly debated and vetted over the years. Cost-cutting proposals would completely undermine the ed-specs and were rightly rejected by the BOE.

As for the BOE’s alleged lack of cooperation – well, that’s Republican code for asking the BOE to eviscerate other programs if it really wants to get MISA done. The BOE has gone far enough by cutting back its original budget to accommodate the misplaced austerity of BET Republicans. We can afford MISA and the BOE has no need to slash other much-needed programs so I call on the Democrats and moderate Republicans on the BOE to hold firm to their principles.

I also call on the First Selectman, a supporter of MISA and public education, or so I was led to believe to put his shoulder to the MISA wheel and promote the project and protect the school budget from the extremists in his party.

Meanwhile, how can we satisfy those who want lower taxes, whatever the social consequences and those like me who want to add value to our schools and our town? The answer is long term bonding. Taxes will be kept in check and vital projects will be funded. It is such common sense and utterly dismaying that Republicans on the finance board will not embrace it.

I hope the BET will agree, by as large a majority as possible, to include MISA in the budget to be voted on by the RTM.

John Blankley
The author is a Democratic candidate for the BET.

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