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POLL: Do You Support the Board of Education's $4.9 Million Referendum?

Here's your chance to tell us how you feel about the Board of Education's $4.9 million referendum request?

Earlier this week, the Board of Directors the Board of Education's request that a $4.9 million referendum for school repairs be placed on the ballot on Election Day in November. 

The money, which Board of Education Chairman Chris Pattacini said is only for "critical school repairs," includes funds to replace the roofs at Bowers, Waddell and Verplanck elementary schools, electrical repairs at Manchester High School, and a number of other repairs. Click here to see a detail list of the items. 

Earlier this year, the town directors also approved a request for a $12.5 million referendum to expand the Mary Cheney Library. The two items will appear as separate entries on the ballot on Election Day, Nov. 6. 

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But we want to know how you feel about the Board of Education's request now? Do you support it or don't you? And why? 

Vote in our poll below and then tell us your opinion in the comments!

tina bourke August 21, 2012 at 10:31 PM
@Brian, I already briefed through it and there are bullets pertaining to racial balance and redistricting, however, I did not find a specific definition why Nathan Hale was closing? If you want to post the specific definition on their website here, by all means go ahead but I didn't find it. If it was for racial balancing, then it further doesn't make sense to close an entire school? For example, racial balancing shouldn't just include the highest cluster of minorities being shuffled out, and no one shuffled in? Its okay Brian, there are others on here so someone can provide it.....
Brian Hurlburt August 22, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Tina, I found a BOE presentation where I believe the redistricting plan began: http://boe.townofmanchester.org/files/Elementary_School_Redistricting_Scenario.pdf At this time there was no mention of closing Nathan Hale. However, you can find many of the same words on the presentations going forward to today; and more recently the closing of Nathan Hale became a way to save money and consolidate resources in addition to correcting the racial imbalance. I invite others, perhaps someone from the BOE, to add more to this conversation, and un-cloud the issues.
tina bourke August 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
^Brian, look at the article from January 10th on Patch. It states Nathan Hale was closed due to the failing boiler system. This is important because in this article the costs is different by a couple of million from the Hartford Courant's and to me the wording is also tricky? For example it states it would cost a few million but somehow the way it reads, 20 million total but the 20 million is the total price for a complete renovation. The article states that Nathan Hale will RE-OPEN once the REPAIRS ARE COMPLETED. I remember the town people going to the board meetings in favor of keeping it open. So, having re-read that article and knowing many want to keep it, it leads me to question why a 12.5 million dollar project for the library and 4.5 million dollars for other schools are on the table. Sorry Patch, this is a big decision for many and a lot of money on the table for everyone. Are they going to wait until we are on the hook for all that money and then decide to open it costing us all so much more because of the commitment to the library if it passes and the other repairs? The new transparency goals of the new administration would be helpful at this time to all of us as many are disappointed about Nathan Hale closing....How does one get this on the agenda to discuss it at a meeting?
Brian Hurlburt August 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Hi Tina, If you look at the Facilities Critical Assessment punch list, the estimated total cost for needed repairs at all schools is $23,038,000. The cost to renovate just Nathan Hale is $2,465,500, which includes $380,000 for the boiler replacement, $200,000 for replacing the heating pipe, and $100,000 to replace the oil tank. None of these repairs are a part of the $4.9 million referendum, which would indicate that Nathan Hale will not reopen in the foreseeable future. All of that said, the actual budget needed is the $23 million to repair our schools. You could argue that this Facilities Critical Assessment list does not contain other work that needs to be done, so perhaps the $23 million is a low estimate. I know my daughter believes the bathrooms at MHS should be a top priority. This is not only about repairing Nathan Hale. It is also about adhering to Title 1, and correcting the racial imbalance that the State of CT has criticized the town for. My open question to the BOE and BOD is: when will you ask the taxpayers for the $23 million? Or, will we go through this same painful process again next year? Why will Nathan Hale close? What is the real reason for re-redistricting? Please be forthright now on all of the issues.
tina bourke August 22, 2012 at 04:02 PM
^Thanks Brian, And I would add that it will be extremely important information to know for sure if we will get reimbursted from the state 65% of the 4.5 million!!! I will say, I have so much more respect for everyone trying to figure this all for our town and for those who are currently working on it. THANK YOU! I come to realize your jobs are not that easy. It will be a decision of split preference priorities, not necessarily real priorities in my opinion? If the library gets a 12.5 million dollar extension, that doesn't mean we won't have to re-visit the total costs of the school repairs at a later date according to your post. So to sum it it up, even if they get the 4.5 million requested in November, that is just the beginning and will leave a 15.5 million dollar balance for the total sum of all the repairs needed for the schools. If we Leave a 15.5 million dollar balance for all the schools to get the necessary repairs and with the new stated goals for the board not to have past problems repeat themselves, then it would make sense, we will be needing to address the 15.5 million dollar balance in our town schools. How and when this will be addressed will be important to know for sure! Especially since by then we will be so far tapped out for money if both get voted in but backed up against the wall for the necessary repairs. Yikes. Makes my vote decision easier now to decide!!!!!!

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