Board: New school is best option for town, students

LYNDEBOROUGH – Members of the Central School Board agreed on Monday that building a new school is the best option for the town and the students.

A warrant article asking for the necessary architectural fees for plans for a new school will be posed to voters in March.

The board was not unanimous, however, in whether to endorse a citizens petition to abolish the Official Ballot Law (SB2), and that will appear on the warrant without comment from the board.

Although Board Chairman Geoffrey Brock said he would rather have two building options available for discussion, only one plan can appear in the article. Both will probably be discussed at the Deliberative Session in February.

“We have had this idealistic idea,” Brock said. “We worked as hard as could be expected, but I’m not sure we got what we said we wanted. We asked for the town to make a decision about what they wanted (either a new school or extensive renovations to the old one). Those at the forum (held last month) said they wanted a new school.”

The Board now needs to take “a leadership position as to where we want to go,” he added. “The only failure for the school would be to do nothing.”

And “doing nothing,” he said, was what he was afraid the town would decide to do.

Member Fran Bujak said, according to feedback he has received, “The largest group (of voters) is teetering toward a new school. We have to consider the age of this building and other building going on in town.”

Other town agencies in need of more space include the fire and police departments and the library. Use of the present school by other departments has been part of the ongoing discussions.

The recent rise in taxes, caused in part by the revaluation of the town, “will make it difficult to get anything,” Brock said. “But, based on the feedback, a new school is in the best interests of the students.”

Getting information to residents is the highest priority, the board agreed, including all of the reasoning behind their decision to go with new construction rather than renovations.

The citizens petition to repeal SB2 will be on the ballot no matter what the board thinks about it, Brock said. He said he was in favor of the repeal, mainly because he said he felt, given the small number of people who attend the deliberative session, and the larger number of people who vote, many of those voters are not fully informed about the issues, and therefore, tend to vote “no.”

“It will make it difficult for us to get anything,” he said.

Bujak and member Ron Barron said they thought voters were, or could be, well-informed, and having the larger number of people vote was most important.