This morning I was able to tag along with the building committee as they toured the school building. I think most of the walk went well - an orientation and movement specialist for my daughter "F" also came along to see what the building looked like for her.
Most of the building committee did start off a little edgy in the 1940's section of the building - seeing a lot of things that needed to be changed, but that would cost them money. They seemed to brush off those pieces because they weren't going to be "in the budget" (example - handicap accessible bathrooms and more outlets in the classrooms).
I didn't get to speak, much. But the superintendent told me that we would take a walk specifically for "F" at another time. But I did explain to her that if the building committee keeps saying no to everything that the parents of students want, that is going to highly affect "F" ability to have free and equal education.
That made her quiet.
I was able to talk with Mr. Bourdeau, and he was really pro renovation. More so than I experienced the other night at the building committee meeting. And I even felt that Mr. Burr and one of the woman (I forget her name - sigh) were also starting to see the huge difference between the oldest parts of the building (everything built before 1994) and the 1994 section. And the differences are huge.
One of the things that came up often was the musty smell that the older sections were like. Many building committee members commented on how much better the air conditioned 1994 section smelled and looked. I finally saw their eyes starting to open.
Don't get excited. Mr. Asafaylo is still not in favor of doing much. He was there, and remained quite through most of the walk. The woman on the building committee did make and EXCELLENT comment (and I thought - finally!! She sees the light!) where she stated to Mr. Asafaylo that the school building really should be the center pride in our community - and that more people will want to move to Salem and our property values will increase if people drive by and see a beautiful school.
I wanted to hug her.
But Mr. Asafaylo said "with a beautiful building comes higher taxes and I don't want higher taxes".
So there you go.
Please remember - this is a SECOND building committee. The first building committee did a wonderful job coming up with a 15 million renovate as new, and were hoping to get enough state reimbursement that the town would then be taxes on 7.5 million. I just want everyone to remember this part, because the new building committee (certain members) and doing a good job with not telling people that what they will be taxed on would have been LESS (and hopefully only HALF) than 15 million. I think that is a big deal.
And it wasn't all one year - it would have been spread out over 20 years according to the old building committee - so I can't imagine that it would have made this huge impact to our taxes that everyone thinks.
But - I will get clarification.
Anyway - the fight continues. next week on Tuesday the 29th - at the Salem Town Library - is the building committee's next meeting. 7pm. The more parents that come out in support - the better! We need to put pressure on them to let them know we DO care and we ARE listening to what they are saying.
And the parent meeting is Wednesday June 30th at 7pm at the town library. We hope to see you there!!