With the borrowing order to transform the former Silvio O. Conte Middle School into an elementary school going to a vote on April 30, we’ve been overjoyed with the flow of opinion that has made its way to our newsroom.
This is an important conversation that needs to be had in the days leading up to April 30, and we’re happy to play host to a back-and-forth of opinions on this project.
But therein lies the crux: Opinions are essential to the debate, but there has been some misinformation floating into the conversation, and this threatens voters looking to educate themselves.
City residents have done a remarkable job responding to such errors so fact may outweigh fiction in the public debate. It is through this common dialogue that readers may arrive at the truth before they arrive at the polls.
But to name a few gems that have cropped up and therefore must be circulating in public discourse:
It has been said there’s no evidence the cost of renovations at Sullivan and Greylock elementary schools would be more than the current $6.7 million the city would be responsible for with the Conte project.
... Well, other than the fact that structural challenges, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues and the cost of relocation of students during construction all make the options at these schools likely cost prohibitive and beyond the Conte price tag, that is. And these conclusions are born from countless hours of examination by the School Building Committee and the work of their consultants.
It has further been said that some estimates put the cost of renovations at Sullivan and Greylock at $4 million -- even if the Massachusetts School Building Authority were to kick in none of the $23 million they’re poised to reimburse for Conte.
We have no idea where this rosy figure comes from, other than the rumor mill. For the reasons stated above, options at these two schools were deemed a financial risk. Though one thing’s for sure: the state contributing no money to this two-school approach. The MSBA essentially said pick one when the city presented them with a two-school solution.
In short, be mindful of the pitfalls of the uninformed as you go about preparing for April 30. As the saying goes: Consider the source.