To the editor:
So we’ll have a new middle school which I’m happy to support but for the absurdity of its price tag.
In my October 2016 letter to the editor regarding construction of the East Greenwich MS, I praised its school committee for their skill in negotiating a fair price for residents and taxpayers. Since then, some in town have reasoned that this price couldn’t be matched by Barrington since it was built “during the great recession and construction costs have since increased.” Pollyanna would even claim this as sophistry.
This argument and rationale belie the facts.
Economics 101 says costs must necessarily stay low or actually decrease during a recession (which by the way R.I. has barely pulled out of). Has milk, the cost of a Toyota Camry or the price of a home doubled in the last 8 years? Can you name even one thing that’s increased 25 percent in the same period of time (other than perhaps your property tax bill?) EG MS at $32.1 million versus BMS at $68.4 million and in just a few short years later. Is it any wonder the school committee left this off of its construction comparison list on its website. It’s simply too embarrassing. Does anyone know what $45 million could buy us?
On March 16, I cannot in good conscience support a tax increase in excess of 4 percent, unless there is a corresponding reduction in school expenditures in the amount above the 4 percent at the FTM. At this juncture, it seems as though the school committee is seeking a blank check from taxpayers.
As recently reported in this paper, the school committee is asking for an additional 3.5 percent (over and above the 4 percent) and the town 2.5 percent, putting the total request to taxpayers at an astounding 10 percent total increase. This is preposterous.
“We have what it takes to take what you have” has been proffered as a motto for the IRS. May I suggest that the present school committee take it over wholly intact as its own.
Ultimately, if the politicians say “we can’t do it for less,” then maybe we can’t afford the politicians.
Mr. Fuller is a former member of the Barrington School Committee.