GOES DOWN IN FLAMES:
Itís no secret at this time that Derby voters werenít convinced that their city needed sports fields at Witek Memorial Park, a new high school, or renovations at the present high school.
Question One, the construction of the high school, was soundly defeated 1,519 to 953.
A little closer vote, the Question Two (converting the current high school into a new middle school, went down with a vote of 1,449 to 876. I wonder about these two questions. I am under the assumption that if you voted down the new high school, but voted for renovating the high school into a middle school, where would the high school students go? I would understand that the first two questions would go hand in hand to defeat automatically.
Anyway, the public didnít buy the fact that there were students squeezed into shower rooms and closets. Even if there were, the voters were not convinced this was a problem.
Speaking with some Derby residents and friends who voted down the school questions, I learned that the problem isnít the building--itís the kind of education that goes on within the building. I also understand from some of these conversations that decades ago there were one-room classrooms where learning went on without computers, gymnasiums, libraries, electricity, central heating, etc. Yet some of our most illustrious figures in history were literate.
Another few who voiced opinions to me were about the Ansonia High School. And this is a direct quote: "Derby only wants a new high school because Ansonia has one." Please! I hope this isnít the REAL reason. Itís enough to believe that rivalry is going too far here! Iím from Ansonia, and Iím not too happy about our taxes since the high school was voted in; but Iím sure the Ansonia residents who voted "yes" didnít vote that way because Derby didnít have a new high school and Ansonia would "go one up" on Derby with it.
It seems the new school supporters in Derby didnít listen carefully to the voters at the public hearings to see what they REALLY thought or had to say.
I canít end this opinion without mentioning the third question on that referendum: the athletic fields at Witek Memorial Park.
The margin of difference was greater for this question than the first two. The construction of athletic fields was soundly defeated with a vote of 1,607 against and 752 in favor.
This makes me wonder that environmental issues are more alive and well in our area than worrying about buildings for education. The Derby residents have also spoken that there should be some open space in the city where people can have some peace and quiet and solitude without the sounds of the joys of victory and the agonies of defeat.
With the vandalism rampant at the park, this decision to say no to ball fields may have been a good one.
By Sandra Mendyk