To the Editor,
It’s encouraging to read that “Sensible” has at last consulted a lawyer about its various petition initiatives, according to their president’s latest letter to GOOD Morning Wilton. I’m confident that the legal advice they’ve heard is that there was little likelihood of success in the courts on their original petition and that, in any event, they had allowed the time to proceed in the courts, if they had nonetheless decided to try, to expire. Now they’re offering for signature a new petition, which can be expected to go the same route as their first. In the meantime, the petitioning process will once again cost our town resources and board and staff time to address – the very antithesis of “Sensible’s” stated town cost-reduction objectives.
“Sensible’s” latest assertion, again found in their president’s letter, is that the school rebuild has been done too big in number of classrooms based on what “Sensible” references as a projection of student-body size (“enrolled by 2018,” in the letter’s words) made by Peter Prowda in January of 2014. Since January of 2014, two other projections have been made, one by Ellen Essman in October of 2014 and the other by Milione & MacBroom earlier this month. Both of the latter two estimates show remarkably similar results, markedly different from Prowda’s. Any projection, of course, is just that: an estimate, not a factual certainty, and estimators will not-unexpectedly disagree. Whatever those estimators predict over the next few years though, in fact, it would be very insensible to plan on a major reduced-class-size basis for a building that hopefully will last a half century before its next major renovation, unless one wants to see temporary classrooms — such as those for use while the renovation takes place — becoming a permanent fixture at Miller-Driscoll in future years. Planning on that basis is foolhardy indeed.
But it is at least heartening to see in this latest “Sensible” letter that there is no figure ($5 million, $10 million, or $25 million, as we’ve heard loudly proclaimed by “Sensible” at various times in the past from before the town vote in September through last month) thrown around as to what it will cost to do things their way. That’s just as well because the truth is that their plans for grossly insufficient (and hence piecemeal) rebuilding will only add to total overall costs, both shorter term and longer term. In point of fact, it is the totality of the rebuild, not just HVAC, but windows, roofs, insulation, control and security systems, and the many other factors that together create an optimally designed structure, that will lead to great long-term benefits, including large annual cost savings. That’s the kind of projecting that “Sensible” could profitably be focusing its attention upon.
I hope that those who might reflexively be tempted to sign this new petition as they did the last one will think again: Is it really right to be signing a petition to undo a town vote if you didn’t even choose to vote when you had the chance? — as 750 of those 1,070 residents who signed the last petition failed to do, according to our Registrars of Voters’ own figures. And is it right, in any event, to waste town time and resources on such a fruitless endeavor?