I have been puzzled about the controversy surrounding the renovation of Conte School into an elementary school. The plans have been in the making for over two years. They have passed the Building Committee, the School Committee and the North Adams City Council. There have been open meetings which I never attended since I thought it was a "done deal" and, frankly, since I no longer have children nor grandchildren in the community, I didn't get involved. I was asked to sign a petition in opposition to the school site which I refused to do.
Now, as I understand it, the Conte School is on city property negating any need to purchase other land. Conte School is owned by the city negating any need to build a new building. The Massachusetts School Building Authority has agreed to completely renovate the building making it a first class educational building allowing our students the very best in technical and academic opportunities. North Adams will be reimbursed 80 percent of the renovation costs.
Everything is in place, so what is the problem? I have only heard vague reasons for opposing the school.
And then I began to realize that this was not a good-faith opposition to protect our children, but instead was a political opposition to the current administration. At the risk of losing a new school, this group is determined to forestall the mayor, the City Council and the School Committee in what amounts to continued opposition to the city administration.
We had an election, the voters have spoken, 99 percent of our elected officials have signed off on this and we have had continued sniping at the mayor and most of the council ever since. I, for one, am getting tired of this negativity. In my heart, I believe that Silvio Conte, a lover of children and for whom the school is named would be in the forefront of this enterprise.
Now, you, the voter, have an opportunity to support the school children of this community. They will inherit a brand new school with all the necessary tools for a class-A education. I urge all residents to go to the polls on April 30 and vote "yes" for the Conte Elementary School.