More Hype from Amity Board not needed

After another year of improprieties by the Amity Board of Education, are you wondering what the New Year will bring?

Will it bring needed repairs to the Bethany and Orange campuses? Will the high school auditorium ever be functional again? Will the students and faculty that can no longer teach and learn in an educational environment be given the opportunity to learn and teach in such an environment or will they continue to be shunned?

After receiving a press release from the board and actually confirming with the superintendent that the release represented the school district, one can only wonder. As press releases are typically sent to all local media you may find it verbatim in another publication.

It was titled New ABOE hits the ground running. And from there on out it was filled with mistruths.

For example, it referenced an open forum sponsored by the new board asking for citizen input featuring "an architectural firm specializing in school buildings."

Fact: the old board included in its RFQ to the contract winner that these forums/focus groups would be held. The firm the board chose to pay $83,000 to design (or redesign) the school buildings is the Best Joslin/DRA firm, the same firm that will be at this Jan. 13 focus group.

And just to be completely above board, nowhere in the presentation packet of this firm does it say they specialize in school buildings.

Under the heading "Who We Are" in the information packet it says "Education projects have been a part of our projects since 1972." In fact, Kenneth Best, partner in the firm, is a specialist in library design. He was the architect who designed the Woodbridge Town Library, which is presently suffering from building flaws including a leaky roof.

Less than one month since their hire, Best/Joslin will be presenting at the meeting its compilation and digest of the many studies previously completed. This "new" board is depending on the judgment of this firm to help decide which way to go with the referendum for the proposed multi-million dollar building project.

The press release notes that the meeting marks the end of studies and the beginning of action programs. Why then is the board about to vote on approving yet another study with the University of Connecticut?

For nearly the past two years the board has been working in the direction of making needed repairs. And although much of the focus has been fiscal management, the board members appointed and elected, have been struggling with making repairs and addressing environmental needs. One can only speculate whether the reference to a New Board is perhaps another attempt by Orange to begin to separate itself from the Amity School District as it has begun to reference a need for a second high school in Orange. After all, the only new board members are the Orange members who were recently elected (or re-elected) in November. The very vast majority of board members have been on for quite a while, either appointed or elected.

The last thing parents, teachers and students of the Amity School District need are more political games played. If this is the direction the "new" board wants to go then shame on them. It is long past time to put the kids first for a change. Move on. Move forward.