$8.25M bond proposal for Wilton-Lyndeborough makes no sense

To the Editor:

The annual meeting of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District will take place on Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the high school in Wilton.

This year’s warrant articles include an $8.25 million bond proposal – approximately $16 million with interest – to reconstruct, renovate and consolidate our two existing elementary schools.

The decisions made here will directly affect all families with children younger than the age of 10, as well as every homeowner in Wilton and Lyndeborough.

While the School Board’s $16 million proposal does have its merits, there are several aspects of it that do not make sense.

For instance, the proposed renovation/new construction at Florence Rideout Elementary School in Wilton includes accommodations for more than 200 more elementary school-aged students than are currently enrolled in the district.

There is no doubt that major renovations are required at FRES, and that planning for future growth is always essential, but this seems like a multi-
million dollar solution to a problem that does not now and probably will not ever exist.

Additionally, this same proposal includes $450,000 to re-renovate Lyndeborough Central School so as to accommodate our school district administrative offices, which are currently housed at an office park on Route 101 at a cost of approximately $30,000 per year.

Given that the $450,000 for this phase of the project will actually cost more than $800,000 with interest, it will take more than 25 years for us to realize any actual savings from this expenditure. It also does nothing to improve the quality of education for our children.

The most worrisome part for Lyndeborough residents is the tacit threat that if this $16 million solution is not approved, voters from Wilton who are present at the meeting will have the opportunity to change the existing Articles of Agreement, which specify that each town is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of its own elementary school.

If Warrant Article 9 is approved as well, Lyndeborough taxpayers will be required to pay approximately $75,000 per year toward the upkeep of FRES while receiving absolutely no benefit from it.

Whatever your opinion is regarding these issues, it doesn’t count unless you are present at the annual meeting. I encourage everyone to attend as the fate of our children’s education, as well as your tax bill, is at stake.

The most important vote for Lyndeborough taxpayers may not come until well after 10 p.m., so please bring a tankard of coffee and be prepared to stay until the meeting is adjourned or you run the risk of someone else making these important decisions for you.

MARK W. ALTNER

Candidate for WLC
School Budget Committee
Member At Large,
Lyndeborough