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Board of Directors Approves School Board's $4.9 Million Referendum Request

The funding request for "critical" school repairs will now go before voters in November.

Whether or not the Board of Education will receive $4.9 million for "" will now be decided by voters come November, as town directors unanimously approved the school board's request for the item to be placed on a referendum Tuesday. 

The vote came at the end of a lengthy Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, which saw numerous residents and members of the Board of Education speak out in favor of the school board's funding request. 

"We cannot continue to kick the can down the road any further," Kelly Luxenberg, a Democratic member of the Board of Education, said during the public comment portion of the meeting. "Trust the people…and see if they want to invest that money back into our schools." 

While Board of Education Chairman Chris Pattacini also addressed the directors in support of the funding, but noted that he was doing so as a taxpayer and parent within the community. 

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"These repairs were selected by the administration from a list of more than $20 million worth of critical repairs," Pattacini said. "They do represent a small portion of those items that we believe are ultra critical…not only do these repairs ensure that we protect our investment that the community has made, but they help ensure that schools remain in operation."

When the subject finally came before the directors for a vote, Democrat John Topping proposed reducing the request to $4.6 million by stripping $300,000 for parking lot repairs at Arthur H. Illing Middle School. 

"I don't feel it was prudent to pay for something for 20 years that has a life expectancy of less," Topping said referring to the Illing parking lot repairs. "I think this is a number that the town can support, but more importantly that the town can afford." 

But after further debate, town directors agreed to return the $300,000 in funding, but use it for $100,000 worth of compliance fees pertaining to the Americans with Disability Act and $200,000 worth of funding for studies for the School Modernization and Reinvestment Team Revisited (SMARTR), a separate committee made up of members of the Board of Education, Board of Directors and general public that has been appointed to identify long-term repairs and objectives for the school system.

The money 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. Earlier this year, the town directors also approved a request for . 

"I was initially of the opinion that this referendum should not be on the ballot in November, because I wanted the library to have its day," said Mayor Leo V. Diana. "This is a decision that should be made by the residents of the town of Manchester, that's why we're going to give them that opportunity." 

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. 

Republican Susan Holmes was absent from the meeting and did not take part in the vote. 

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tina bourke August 23, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Jerry, The total necessary repairs for the all the schools is 23 MILLION. If both get voted in, this will still leave 18.5 MILLION for necessary repairs we haven't even addressed yet! The balance pending doesn't even include the cost of Nathan Hale whose fate is still in limbo. I now feel Nathan Hale is doomed to re-open, unless voters feel the school is more important then the library? Many constituents came out in favor for keeping Nathan Hale open yet it isn't even on the ballot radar??? Jerry as you complain about the BOE, I have seen other issues too. It won't stop at just the library, next it will be develop the great lawn, 24/7 police protection for the log cabin in Case Mountain and so it doesn't end? The same politician who advocated for the library money already was exploiting other sites trying to push her agenda for developing the great lawn.....We are in the lowest job market and big recession. That is what I meant about thinking of all the towns folks is all. Some are very poor. Having said that Jerry, I will agree with you on this one, however, if we did not get outside second opinions on the repairs for the school, shame on us!!!! We also have the Broad street development, the Center Springs expansion and this isn't even included in these new figures on the table as of late. It will be a very important decision, and please don't let anyone discourage anyone her from talking openly about what we are all in together!!!!!!!!
Joel Mrosek October 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Tina, we have discussed this before. Tim Devanney is not running for a "Republican political seat". He is a Republican who comes from one of the most generous, civic minded familys and business owners in Manchester. It is clear you do not like ANY Republican, but to infer some type of corruption on the part of this fine family over a few sandwiches is silly and beyond the pale. If you have any evidence the Devanneys are corrupt, you should post it or apologize for impuning a reputation they have spent 3 generations building. It is not fair to damage it with an unfounded, reckless charge.
tina bourke October 07, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Joel, read all the posts. There is a perception of favoritism and distrust. I didn't create it, it exists. Through the processing of these posts, we have come to be able to understand what is fact and what is not. You are obsessed with my political interests and demean me for them.
tina bourke October 07, 2012 at 04:37 PM
@Joel, it was announced on April 17, 2012. Timothy M. Devanney running for Republican 12th general assembly seat.
tina bourke October 07, 2012 at 04:44 PM
@Joel, and I read it right here on patch. Hopefully it will help you understand how the confusion goes around now and for information purposes and not a witch hunt.

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