Valley Times           Saturday, June 2, 2001
 Powerful Mailer Swung Election?
 To the Editor: 

     Vincent Guardiano, a member of the Zoning Board that voted to zone the Hine's farm property industrial, wrote a letter claiming that those in opposition to the school proposal won the last referendum becaue of one mailer.  I didn't realize that one mailing could so effect an election.  Perhaps that mailer was so effective because it raised questions that those in favor of that school proposal had never bothered to address.  

     Again, for this upcoming referendum, we are besieged with threats of dire consequences if we don't vote in favor.  Mr. Guardiano claims that this miracle proposal will alleviate school overcrowding, make up for the lack of recreational facilities in the city and address all residents' concerns all for the cost of a weekly trip to McDonald's.  Hogwash!  

     The only kernel of truth in those claims is that it will alleviate school overcrowding.  Of course we must ignore the fact that the current school was built for a large student body than we have.  It is true that with all the additional space, the classrooms will be filled with about 10 students in each room rather than the 25 to 30 students per class we have now.  But, do we need to have one classroom for approximately every 10 students?  

     If this school provides us with sufficient recreational facilities, why then is Witek Park still being discussed for additional fields, as the papers recently reported?  If the new school resolved all recreational issues in the city, there would be no plan to spend more on building at Witek Park.  

     As to the issue of the cost of the building, the City Treasurer reported that because a bond was being paid off, we would only pay $122 more per year (based on a $150,000 home).  That, however, does not take into acocunt how much our taxes would have gone down because of the paying off of that bond.  So, already it will cost $122 per year plus what we could have saved in taxes (a number not reported by the City Treasurer, by the way).  

     Furthermore, I'm sure the increased salaries for the necessary new teachers and staff and the increase in the electric bill will make the cost much closer to a daily trip to the River Restaurant than to McDonalds.  

     Mr. Guardiano also claims that this proposal took into account residents' concerns.  Again, Mr. Guardiano's claims are more more fiction than fact.  The vote on the last referendum was 2-1/2 to 1 AGAINST building a new school.  Which part of NO new school was addressed with this referendum?  Moving the school to another side of town, creating a traffic nightmare, at significant taxpayer expense did not address the concerns of the overwhelmingly majority of taxpayers who voted NO.  

     This issue does merit a discussion of facts, but the facts must be truth and not distortions.  And, the discussion must address the concerns of the majority of the taxpayers.  

     It cannot be a discussion where you merely point fingers.  Those of us in opposition are not against education. We are, however, against throwing money away.

     No matter how many different ways you try to force it, we will continue to oppose wasteful spending.

JOHN W. KOWARIK 
Derby