GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

September 5, 2013

Letter: It's time to end 'charade' over Fuller School

To the editor:

I am appalled at the total lack of a democratic process whereby a handful of vocal individuals get to call the shots on the building of a new school estimated to cost $30 million.

And this is just the first of five elementary schools that will all need replacing in the near future.

Where is Gloucester going to get the funds to pay for its half of $150,000,000 worth of new school buildings? From the taxpayers, that’s who. The same tax payers who, if they prefer renovating Fuller for use as a school, will not get to register their opinion in the referendum going on the November ballot if certain city councilors, including Paul McGeary, Joe Ciolino, and Steven LeBlanc, get their way (the Times, Aug. 28, “3 choices for Fuller outlined”).

This is not democracy by the majority; this is tyranny by the minority, and it’s got to stop.

Mr. Tobey, Ms. Hardy, I urge you to drum some common sense into the heads of your fellow city councilors and make some progress towards acting in a democratic fashion.

Enough of this charade – let’s get the facts on the table and make an intelligent informed decision based on real facts and real numbers and take a long hard look at the present and future needs of our public school infrastructure. It’s about time that the 20,918 registered voters — including over 10,000 tax payers who will be asked to foot the bill — had a say in the matter, this voter and taxpayer included.

It seems that a fast track has been laid for abandoning Fuller and building a new West Parish school. “It’s too far gone. It’s too expensive to fix. It’s not ADA compliant for use as a school anymore,” say our city leaders.

So how come Fuller has been good enough for pre-schoolers and for administrative offices, and now suddenly it’s not? How expensive would it be to renovate Fuller, update the HVAC, and render it ADA compliant?

Kathy Clancy stated some time ago that $5 million would bring Fuller up to snuff. If we’re going to tear down neighborhood schools and rebuild them one by one as they deteriorate, we could also tear down Fuller and rebuild it if that proved to be less expensive than rehabilitating it. Why can’t we get some estimates on these alternatives?

TOM COX

Haskell Court, Gloucester

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