Letter: Don’t let ‘haters’ divide us — vote ‘yes’ to both questions

Posted 10/25/21

To the editor:

I write to address the two questions that Portsmouth citizens will be asked to vote on next Tuesday, Nov. 2. As a sitting school committee member, I can testify that our schools are …

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Letter: Don’t let ‘haters’ divide us — vote ‘yes’ to both questions

Posted

To the editor:

I write to address the two questions that Portsmouth citizens will be asked to vote on next Tuesday, Nov. 2. As a sitting school committee member, I can testify that our schools are safe, dry, and well-maintained. The bond question before you is a request to continue our good work and provide a financial advantage to the town.

Our schools are recognized throughout the state for our maintenance practices. Our schools are old but continue to serve our children well. At the same time, our buildings are brightly lit, warm, and energy efficient. Our technology infrastructure is second to none, providing our children with a state-of-the-art educational experience, providing every student with their own Chromebook. 

In addition to continuing the good work done through an annualized capital plan, we have an opportunity to maximize our capital dollars by taking advantage of a limited-time program from the state that will give the town a net savings of about $8.58 million. This will reduce costs to about $12.86 million. Yes, we can continue to move forward with an annualized capital plan, but doing so would leave $8.58 million on the table. The “no” voters, to save upfront, are willing to spend more money later. A classic case of, “penny wise and pound foolish.”

I was caught off guard by the opposition to the question regarding our senior center. This question is a no-brainer. In exchange for a long-term lease (the town still holds title), we get a brand-new, energy-efficient building that will be (unlike the current building) fully Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant. 

We also get much needed low-income housing for our less-fortunate seniors. And maybe this is the problem. Like it or not, we are mandated by the state to provide at least 10 percent low- to moderate-income housing. We can best meet the mandate by working with an experienced non-profit like Church Community Housing Corporation, developing an integrated solution. This project effectively costs the taxpayers nothing while meeting the goal of providing our seniors with a safe and comfortable facility and moving forward to meet our legal and moral obligations.

A consequence of the global pandemic is that it has afforded an opportunity for the haters to divide us. We cannot bring our divided nation together, but we can work to bring our community together. Say “no” to the haters who seek to divide us by voting “yes” on Questions 1 and 2.

Thomas R. Vadney
Clerk, Portsmouth School Committee

5 Brant Road

Portsmouth

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