Resident says no reasons presented to close Harborside

To the Editor:

Close Harborside Middle School? Close an elementary school? The BOE should not consider either one of these actions without completing a thorough analysis, which should include a forecast of significant cost savings and improvement of the educational experience for all of the students.

The Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC), which consisted of more than 30 individuals representing parents, teachers, administrators, BOE and BOA members, spent countless hours since June 2013 working to develop recommendations for the BOE.

On Aug. 22, BOE Chair Susan Glennon listed those recommendations in the Long Range Planning Update for the Milford Community, which is posted on the school district website. It was also noted that the BOE would hold two board workshops on 8/28 and 9/15 followed by public comment on 9/23 and 9/29.

It is disappointing that the BOE and the administration would have complete disregard for the LRPC's recommendations (except of course the no brainer decision to return to the K-5 configuration and decentralize Pre-K). The LRPC did recommend closing one ore two elementary schools, however, there was no recommendation to close Harborside.

In the 8/28 BOE workshop minutes there was no discussion regarding closing Harborside.

In the 9/15 BOE workshop minutes, it appears that there was a brief discussion (led by Dr. Feser, Mr. Richetelli and Ms. Glennon), followed by a proposal... “Mrs. Fucci proposed that Harborside be closed in three to five years once the renovations and classroom expansion of West Shore Middle School is complete. There were no stated objections.”

How can a proposal such as this be put forth without taking a hard look at the pros and cons or completing a detailed analysis? At this time did Mrs. Fucci or the other board members also know that it would cost an additional $8-10 million to add classrooms to the currently planned West Shore Middle School renovation project, which is already estimated at $19.5 million? Yes, this would bring the estimated total to $27.5-29.5 million. We already know that “estimated” and “actual” are two very different numbers, i.e. East Shore Middle School project. (Estimated $12M vs actual $22M+)

The current enrollment projections do not support the closing of a middle school; otherwise the LRPC would have recommended it. Unfortunately, the sentiment of many parents is that the administration and BOE have already made up their minds. I hope not.

Mike Scagliarini