Letter: Taxpayers left with bill for Westport school omissions

Posted 11/14/19

To the editor:

I want to thank Antonio Viveiros, chairman of Westport’s elected School Board, for clarifying how the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) uses its sole discretion to …

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Letter: Taxpayers left with bill for Westport school omissions

Posted

To the editor:

I want to thank Antonio Viveiros, chairman of Westport’s elected School Board, for clarifying how the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) uses its sole discretion to determine what costs are reimbursable for Westport’s new school project (“Administrative offices never part of new school plan,” Shorelines, November 7, 2019).

He states that “a decision was made and approved” by elected officials (Selectmen and School Board) to build a new Middle High School, but the decision to exclude the central administration office space was made by the unelected School Building Committee, as an option during the feasibility study process.

I’m surprised Mr. Viveiros would suggest debating why that option was chosen. Isn’t it obvious that excluding 4,000 square feet of office space reduces the total price tag of the project, making it more “feasible?” But common sense tells us if the district will incur that cost with no relief from the MSBA, why wouldn’t it be included in the plans anyway?

Do we really believe the central administration offices will move to module classrooms or remain where they are once the High School is sold or leased? How can the School Board decide to relocate the central administration to the newly purchased campground with no site plans, building design, or cost estimates? Or did the public and the press somehow miss those open discussions, too? 

Mr. Viveiros states that “at no time did either committee [unelected School Building Committee or elected School Board – he sits on both] try to portray that the central office space was included in the building plans.” That’s equivalent to saying neither committee tried to portray actual human harm from the Middle School PCBs. Or sold the town a Taj Mahal they couldn’t afford. Is that the “ethical, responsible manner” in which $97 million in funding was achieved? Apparently taxpayers are again left holding the bag now that construction has begun. 

Marilyn Pease

Westport

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