I am a New Paltz resident and mother of a third grader now attending Lenape Elementary School. We moved here 2 1/2 years ago from New York City where my child attended PS 11, housed in a 1920's vintage building. New York City is not known for having all wonderful schools, but PS 11 is a gem. I was pleased to discover that our new home in New Paltz also boasted a good school system -- this comes at a price. I rent a home in the village and, via my rent, pay for taxes assessed on this property. With a child in the school system I get immediate value from tax dollars. All residents should realize that money spent on education is money invested wisely in the future. Our children will thrive in life based on the quality of their early education. This is a proven fact.
The arguments put forth by the "vote no" campaign are loud voices using fear and smear tactics to distort the realities of this proposal based solely on their desire to avoid increases in taxes. Tax dollars -- local, state and federal -- are monies collected to redistribute across communities, they are inescapable, but when well administered, create more bang than for the individual buck. Here, in New Paltz, we have reasonable, educated, credible administrators working diligently to prepare this project which promises to move this district into the future safely, strongly and with integrity.
Building green is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Once upon a time indoor plumbing was considered a luxury. If we fail to plan for the future, we will find ourselves, in 30 years, tearing down this school, just as now, we are faced with trashing the buildings that were put up in the 60's and are now toxic and unsalvageable. It is a great testament to the earlier construction techniques of the 1930's that we can save that beautiful structure and keep it functioning as our district office.
This project has been developed over the same 2 1/2 years that I have been living in New Paltz. I have attended board meetings and witnessed the same questions asked, repeatedly, by a vocal minority. Our volunteer elected officials answer the queries and have followed proper procedures to develop this plan. They have delivered to us a plan that looks into the future and will take only one year to complete. This isn't a visionary plan, but it is a reasonable, affordable -- check the real numbers on the district website -- and exciting plan that we can live with, fiscally and morally.
There is no advantage to putting off this task. The district was informed in 2005 that the middle school was inadequate at best, unsafe at worst. Too much time has passed and as it stands now, the new building won't be completed until 2012! We have run out of time and have a workable plan that meets the current and future needs of our community. Vote yes on the middle school.