Where is the renovation plan?

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To the Editor:

Time to face reality.

Group emails are presently circulating to convince us that a renovation/addition can be done for less $$ and hardly any interruption to the students.

  • Where is that plan? What are the financials? Who is going to build it? Who is going to coordinate all the engineering and workforce needed?
  • Building the Tisbury School is not a barn-raising.
  • Has any of the opposition ever built a public school for 300 students in the past 10 years?
  • If we do the reno/addition on our own, how do you offset the state funding?
  • Is Ben Robinson speaking as chair of the planning board, or Ben the private citizen? That was never clear during the town meeting.
  • Have any of the opposing leaders tried substitute teaching or volunteering at the Tisbury School in the past five years, to be able to speak from a position of firsthand knowledge?
  • Last October, at a luncheon at my house for retired Tisbury staff, I had a chance to poll 12 of the 20 or more attendees. Our tenure at the Tisbury School ranged from eight years to 35 years, with a median of 24 years. Only one person favored reno/addition for historical reasons. The other 11 people, with a total of 254 years of service, voted for an entirely new building. We spoke from experience, having endured the asbestos crisis, constant repairs, and one major reno/addition, as well as the trailers. We, the old teachers, speak from years of living in our beloved old building. It was our home away from home.
  • What to do with our students during a reno/addition? More trailers? Someone suggested that we could farm out our students to the other schools. Have you checked with the other schools? How would you implement the distribution? Perhaps we could line up all the students and do a count-off: All the “ones” to Edgartown, the “twos” to Oak Bluffs, and so on till all 300 have their assigned schools. This of course would be at the school-choice expense of approximately $5,000 per student. And what about our teaching staff?
  • If you want to really save money, just close the entire school. Parents then decide to either home school, use school choice around the Island, the Charter School, or private schools on- or off-Island.

In the meantime, the town overwhelmingly voted yes on Article 37: Build a NEW School.

A no vote means no to Article 37, and no $$ appropriated for anything else for the moment. Please weigh all the above points. Call me if you have questions.

And for those who want to preserve the old school, even if we had the luxury of moving elsewhere, drive by the new Edgartown School and try to locate the old brick school that was being preserved.

Wiet Bacheller

Tisbury