“There’s one thing we can never compromise on and that’s education,” said Lloyd Hull, a member of District 10/Northwest of the RTM. “Economize in other areas, but not education.”
Octogenarian Hull, a back country resident who will likely not be sending voluntary donations to Greenwich from Jupiter Island, didn’t explain what “compromise” was involved: taxpayer representatives wanted to stop the palace completely, Hull wants to hand a blank check over to the very people who steered us into this quagmire in the first place. “A good, sincere-sounding sound bite’s too good to waste,” Hull (might have) said, “who cares about reality?”
Greenwich Time notes: “The project’s cost has soared by 30 percent to $44 million following the discovery of widespread soil contamination at the Hillside Road campus and higher-than-expected project bids.”
I share the sentiments of a colleague of mine:
“It works out to $55,000 a student at the present time,” said Mark Pruner, also a member of District 10. “I have yet to hear how spending the money for this auditorium will result in a better education.”
What are we getting for that $55,000 (and counting) cost per student?
It includes a $3.1 million earmark to make the auditorium’s orchestra pit water-tight because it is below grade, a change that was necessitated by the discovery of polychlorinated biphenyls when ground was broken on the project in 2011.
There is also a $3.8 million line item for the cleanup of contaminated soil outside the construction site in the vicinity of the school’s athletic fields, which the Board of Education is treating as a separate project that could ultimately cost between $15 million and $146 million. (so the once $30 million, now $44 million project will actually cost at least $59 million and possibly $186 million. Thank you, Lloyd Hull, for refusing to “compromise”).
Tesei and Selectman Drew Marzullo, both GHS graduates, spoke in support of the project.
“Marzullo said the project will pay dividends.
“It benefits our children and will increase property values,” Marzullo said.
Pruner has it right: there is no evidence that a tuba practice room will benefit “the children”, and to my certain knowledge, not a single prospective Greenwich home buyer has ever asked about the quality of the acoustics in the present auditorium. Test scores, graduation rates, yes, and most important, taxes. This project will raise those taxes, a matter of no concern to Lloyd Hull, and will decrease property values, a result exactly the opposite of what Third Selectman Marzullo expects. Between those two and 118 of our fellow citizens on the RTM, we’re in the best of hands.