MISA money is not pocket change

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

The BET — the financial arm of Greenwich town government — has passed the ball to the RTM —  the “legislative” body of Greenwich town government — to cast the deciding vote on May 13 for yet another appropriation for the Greenwich High School Auditorium.

That is a $9.9-million package in addition to the already approved $33.8 million funding for MISA. Greenwich taxpayers, this is not pocket change.

A vote in favor of this huge request skews MISA — the Music Instructional Space and Auditorium — project of current approved construction costs of $33.8 million to a total of about $44 million before the attendant costs of $20 million to $150 million for soil remediation. What are the additional buried costs of this project? Even proponents of this cause should now question the sanity of the known costs.

The original idea to improve the acoustics at the auditorium was praiseworthy. However, the present cost of $33 million up to $183 million, including the cleanup, is out of control. Naturally, taxes will skyrocket in this town and other projects for capital improvement will have to take a back seat if this appropriation is approved. Is this a risk that Greenwich town leaders are prepared to take?

Academically, the public schools have slipped in their ranking to #21 in the state. Rankings are not based on auditoriums, but on academic scores and AP courses. Thirty years ago Greenwich public education was tops, and please note that our band is still tops even without a refurbished auditorium.

Shouldn’t the school board be focused on the quality of education in this town versus a costly renovation of the high school auditorium for a declining school-age population?

 

Nancy Burke
Greenwich

The author is a member of the Representative Town Meeting.

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