Valley Times                      Saturday, May 19, 2001 
                    Guest Editorial  BY PAUL KLUK
  Derby's New $31.4 Million Dollar High School 

Remember when Derby started saying that it needed eight more classrooms?  This happened around the time that Derby sold eight large first floor classrooms on Ninth Street.  We were told that it would take $4 million to fix the building on Ninth Street.  I believe that the church group working on the building will get it ready for well under one million.

The first Derby Board of Ed(ucation) committee said that it would take over $24 million to make the `68 Derby High School into a grades five through 12 school, and this would ease overcrowding in the lower grades.

The mayor's first committee said that it needed $30 million for a new high school and $6 million for fixing up the `68 high school as a middle school.  This plan would mean that all the students in grades five through 12 would have new upgraded classrooms.

The mayor's second committee now has a June 12 $31.4 million bond issue before the town.  I would guess that $5 million of that is for land and ballfields.  The mayor's second committee came up with the most neglect for the little children and a wonderful plan for 350 high school students.  The high school students get all the benefits of the $31.4 million bond, and all, the younger children get zero for their schools.

I believe that the new budget will be ready for June 1, and if anyone bothers to check, 1,200 students will have zero funding for new furniture, zero funding for purchasing energy efficient windows, lights and doors.

If the Derby Tax Board remains true to form, they will fund zero to replace any of the 40-year-old furniture, windows and doors.  I would be very happy to learn'that they have begun fixing up Bradley and Irving schools say 20 classrooms per year.  But they will not do this because they just purchased the former Webster Bank building and claim they need $1 million to fix it up.  One classroom of new furniture costs a little more than $5,000.

Did the people of Derby get to vote on the sale of the Ninth Street School?  Did the people of Derby get to vote on the purchase of the former Webster Bank?  Do the people of Derby want their City Hall on Main Street? Nobody asked.  I guess their silence is a resounding YES.  We just don't have $400,000 to fix up classrooms for Bradley and Irvings chools becase we are spending $5 million on land and ball fields, $1 million on Main Street
City Hall and $26.4 million on a new high school.

This all started because one of the many experts the city hired said that we need more classrooms.  Does Walter Mayhew speak for all the clergy when he supports a new high school and zero improvmeents for the old classrooms that the remaining 1,200 students must continue to use?  Is this targeted age discrimination?  Do all the religiuos civic, educational, medical and political leaders support this type of age discrinination?  

(Paul Kluk is a resident f Derby and frequent letter 'writer to the Valley Times.)

< Come again, Paul?  The very recent construction projects at our two elementary schools not only failed to provide space for the 6th graders, they did not improve classrooms, either ? What did they do other than jam traffic and raise dust ? - enm >