Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fiscal Gymnastics

EO Smith has had the misfortune of falling victim to the collapsing economy at exactly the wrong time. About three years ago, just prior to the economic collapse, the Board discovered that the athletic fields behind the school were deficient and needed extensive repair. The track is the most critical component that could no longer be merely patched.

It is dangerous and requires significant drainage and field reconstruction to be sustainable. The longer the Board investigated the field conditions, the more the realization that the lack of water and limited scope of the existing fields dictated a comprehensive proposal.

After soliciting bids and a three town education campaign a bond issue was presented to the public and they voted 'no'. Since then we've had to bus our track and field activities out to Tolland.

It's humiliating and expensive and largely a direct result of the general economy.

Last night we discussed a revised proposal - a $2M dollar plan that cuts deeply into the comprehensive repair plan and reduces the scope to what is sufficient and absolutely necessary.

Even at this reduced level, the tax burden to a reeling tax base will be challenging to pass. And for all the talk of "shovel ready" funds being made available by the Feds, those monies are gobbled up by the special interests of the State and don't apply to schools caught in the middle.

And while urban schools are built and rebuilt perpetually by State and federal funds, suburban schools must afford their own infrastructures in addition to being responsible for the entitled schools.

State government and education are now cannibalizing each others budgets to continue the lifestyles they've become accustomed to. In the meantime, our track and field are more unlikely than ever to be realized until the economy significantly improves.

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