The borrowing order for a school building project at the former Conte Middle School will come before the City Council on Tuesday, and we urge that body to approve the measure in order to green light a project designed to answer the needs of the city's schoolchildren.
The proposal to turn Conte into a kindergarten through grade 7 elementary school has been passed along by votes of the North Adams School Building Committee and the Massachusetts School Building Authority -- the latter having signed on to pay $23.5 million of the roughly $30 million price tag, leaving the city looking at some $6.5 million. The process has been the subject of several open forums meant to educate the public on the pros and cons of this and other proposals to address the need for space in city schools.
In short, the Conte plan has been examined and approved by people put in place to make the most informed decisions on these matters and the state has given its backing and significant financial support. The time to act on the project is now.
Further, we must wonder what the MSBA reaction would be if project funding is ultimately denied locally and the city and its school building project requests go to the back of the line for consideration by the state board. The MSBA has agreed to pay 80 percent of the cost; talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.
We would expect that the memory of such a move would stay fresh for the MSBA for some time to come. One need only look at the crusade being tenaciously waged by the Mount Greylock Regional School District for a school building project with the MSBA to know that the opportunity currently available to the city is not one that comes often or easily.
A two-thirds vote of the council will be needed to open the door for Conte on Tuesday, and we urge councilors to make it a lopsided vote in the affirmative.