The district I attended was much larger than this one, having three elementary and two secondary schools, with three of the five buildings occupying adjacent land. (My best friend's middle and high schools were actually physically connected by a corridor, and our experiences completely discounted in my mind the argument that it wouldn't be safe to build a Middle School next to the New Paltz High School, but I see a lot less danger in the world for kids today than many parents do anyway.) Student populations rise and fall, and when I was quite young they decided to close the smallest elementary school and lease the building to BOCES.
After that lease expired they had a different situation on their hands: the high school was jam-packed! The Board of Ed, knowing that it's tough to float a bond, came up with an innovative solution. They would sell the old elementary school to a condo developer to finance the two extra wings they needed for the high school. The project wouldn't have cost that much in dollars, but it would have added 70-80 homes to a community that was simultaneously losing a lot of potential classroom capacity. It went down in flames.
So yes, I understand that there are two sides to every school finance vote, and in this case the side I didn't support won. Frankly, the way our system is designed it's easier to be on the winning side when you're voting no. But what's done is done, and let's move on. The school district's press release said it best:
While we are obviously disappointed in the defeat of the referendum, we will waste no time in setting the outcome aside in order to work towards finding another solution to address our Middle School’s needs. Throughout the entire multi-year planning and discussion about this referendum, people on both sides of the issue were in agreement that there were severe issues at the Middle School that needed to be dealt with. That fact gives us common ground to work on, and we will gather there--on that common ground--to push ahead and seek a solution that the majority of the community can support. We must waste no time in moving forward in order to get our Middle School out of the horrible state of deterioration it faces and ensure that further, more costly issues are not created. The longer we wait, the more will be needed and the costlier the solution will be.There's a time for fighting and there's a time for fixing. We need to fix things now. New Paltz is a community with such a diverse set of well-considered ideas that sometimes, particularly in a place like this blog where we can hide behind our keyboards, things get pretty heated. But this isn't just an internet forum - we are neighbors and, for the most part, we all like living here.
Shall we shelve the rhetoric and work towards finding a way to say yes? The problems at the school aren't going away and no one has said they want to stop educating our kids. How about we step outside, take a breath of fresh air, and have a cup of coffee with someone that didn't agree so we can find that common ground? I hear The Bakery is a great place for a lively debate.