Friday, March 27, 2009
Why not just renovate Spalding?
A School Building Committee member perspective
To the Editor:
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and the Carlisle School Building Committee have recommended replacement of the Spalding building on the school campus. Some residents have asked, “why not just renovate Spalding?” It’s a fair question, but in my opinion, replacing Spalding makes economic sense and will help us maintain our education standards.
The Spalding building has some serious problems. The state conducted an inspection of Spalding and gave it a rating of 4, the lowest rating available and among the worst school buildings in the state. Recent estimates by an engineering firm, to renovate Spalding, exceed $6 million due to the serious nature of the existing problems.
Renovation of Spalding alone will not address our educational space needs. A renovated Spalding would contain two fewer classrooms than the building has today due to changes in state educational facility standards. Educational space requirements have changed over the past decades. A recent assessment of our educational space needs by the School Administration identified deficiencies in Music, Science, Technology and Special Education.
The MSBA has established criteria for districts seeking state reimbursement for school building projects. Their criteria require districts to address their educational space needs for the next 10 to 15 years with cost effective proposals. The proposal Carlisle submitted to the state last summer met the MSBA criteria and would address our space deficiencies. As a result, we are currently one of only eleven districts approved to progress to the next phase, schematic design, and we have been approved to receive 40 percent funding reimbursement for this design. In addition, Carlisle’s proposal includes planned and necessary maintenance projects for other buildings on the school campus totaling over $4.5 million which would be eligible for 40 percent state reimbursement.
We are extremely well-positioned to receive state funding of approximately $8 million to address our long-term education needs. The cost of any other near-term solution would likely be borne solely by the taxpayers of Carlisle.
Member, Carlisle School
Correcting a misquote
To the Editor:
I am writing to correct a misquote (or misunderstanding) in the March 20 Mosquito article regarding the wind turbine bylaw hearing.
Bob Zielinski quoted me as saying that the American Wind Energy Association is “a good resource.” I actually cited it to show that even highly biased wind-turbine advocates, such as that source, acknowledge the issues of noise and visual pollution that the town audience raised.
A daffodil remembrance
To the Editor:
I thought I would tell you how the daffodils got planted on Concord Street.
That year the Garden Club had a bulb sale at Ann Wright’s house. We sold everything except a few daffodils.
Someone thought it a good idea to plant them right across the street.
We got the o.k. from Roger Davis, and they have done well for many years.
If you look carefully, you will see one that is planted on the side nearest the center has a larger space between it and the others. There is a big rock where we planned to put it.
Selectman candidate introduces himself
To the Editor:
I moved to Carlisle ten years ago with my wife, Michele, and seven children, ages 6 to 27. I have participated in many of the fun things our town has to offer, like running in the Old Home Day race – each year with more family members joining me. I have enjoyed coaching my daughter’s soccer and softball teams. Some of our younger children have gone through the school system, and now, ten years later, I would like to give back to the town we have loved living in, and I have decided to run for Selectman.
As I collected signatures for my petition, many townspeople asked me why I decided to run. Like you, I care very much about our town, about its rural character, and unique sense of community. I think it is incumbent upon all of us to give back and participate in addressing the problems our town now faces. With most of our children grown, and in the process of establishing my profession closer to home, I believe that I now have the time needed to carry out this responsibility. I also believe that my background and set of skills will be a good addition to the current Board of Selectmen (BOS).
First, let me share a little information about myself. I hold a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College, and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School. I have spent the better part of my professional career as in-house counsel at two major insurance companies in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Most recently, I was vice president in charge of federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) law and state insurance law. I have been entrusted with multi-million dollar budgets, where failing to balance the budget was not an option. I have been faced with complex and critical issues, many of which carried regulatory and financial implications. I’ve had to make some tough decisions, especially in challenging economic times. In order to be successful, I have had to employ both strategic and analytical thinking. And just as important, I have always been a team player, working collaboratively to produce the best result for the corporation I served.
The skill set that I’ve developed over the years is directly transferable to the position of Selectman. The BOS is faced with financial, legal and sometimes regulatory issues. No doubt, finances are generally a concern in small residential communities, with a limited and precious tax base. Carlisle is no exception. But this year is particularly challenging, given a couple of converging factors, including economic uncertainty, coupled with a higher percentage contribution to CCHS. Translating the higher percentage to dollars, we need to contribute an additional $800K to CCHS. Where will the money come from? At the end of the day, there are only two ways to balance the budget – raise revenue, or lower expenses. Each has its pros and cons.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but what I can tell you is that I will make sure that I am well-informed on the issues, listen carefully to all points of view and suggestions, and I will approach the decision-making process in a collaborative manner. In challenging times, the most important thing is that we stand together as a board and as a town. With your support, I will work hard to insure that together we will work diligently and persistently to preserve the special character of our town.
© 2009 The