The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which determines schools’ accreditation status, has had Wheeler Schools on warning related to the condition of our school facilities for more than 10 years.
Hazardous materials such as PCBs are in some school facilities. The EPA knows about it. We cannot say when they will force us to remediate the danger.
The Wheeler Elementary School multi-purpose room floor is dangerous and kids are getting seriously hurt.
The gymnatorium roof leaks and does not meet federal Title IX standards.
Our elected boards, school administrators and appointed committees have been working diligently for years to determine the best method for fixing the problems. They even looked at regionalization/school of choice versus renovation. Educating our students here is the best option.
So, to avoid losing our accreditation and to remediate serious safety concerns, we must fix our high school/middle school, the grammar school and the gymatorium. The town can choose one of two options:
• Renovate as new with reimbursement, and get a $40.52 million product for $25.87 million (or less) with credits back from the state; or,
• Refurbish those same outdated and dangerous facilities piecemeal over many more years for about the same cost, get no state credits, and get what we pay for.
Reimbursement just makes sense.
Details on the project are available for everyone to review. Please educate yourselves before you vote on June 23. Vote. Please vote yes.
Michael L. Anderson