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Some Goodwin Parents Support Building New Schools

Mansfield officials are considering whether to build two new elementary schools, consolidating the three existing schools, sequentially over a multi-year period.

The majority of Dorothy C. Goodwin Elementary School parents interviewed by Mansfield-Storrs Patch Thursday showed signs of support for building two new elementary schools in town.

Kristin Hempel, the parent of a second and fourth-grader at Goodwin, said it's "critical" that Mansfield look at "re-doing" its schools. “We need to build new schools,” she said, adding, “I think two schools is the way to go.”

Hempel said that while she supports the two-school option, the long, drawn-out process has left people "confused" and "frustrated."

"I think at this point there is a lack of faith in the leadership around putting together a proposal," Hempel said. "It’s tough, because it needs to happen and we need the leadership to make it happen,” she said.

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Trisha McNally, who has a first and fourth-grader at the school, said she too, was in favor of building new schools.

“I think it’s a good idea,” McNally said. “I think it’s going to get a little crowded though condensing three schools into two, but I think new, updated schools isn’t a bad idea,” she said.

Jeff Dudas, who has a young son at Goodwin, said he was also leaning toward the two-school option.

“The two-school project seems fine to us, but I don’t know how feasible that is” Dudas said. “I think in principle we’d be supportive of that, but we’d want to see the actual proposal,” he said.

Dudas said that while nothing in particular concerned him about the project as it stands, he was concerned when talks leaned toward one school, saying it would “eviscerate the neighborhood and the character of the schools.”

When asked about the council's decision-making process, Dudas said he'd "rather them get it right no matter how long it takes than rush through it."

Kristen Zodnik, the parent of a Goodwin kindergartner, said her mind simply hasn't been made up yet.

“I’m on the fence," Zodnik said. "Before my daughter started school, it didn’t matter to me one way or the other, but now that she’s in school, I’m starting to try to follow it, but because it’s been on and off and on and off, it’s hard,” she said. “Somebody just needs to step up and make a decision."

Maryellen Battye Eldredge October 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
leave it. I agree . We are all sick of spending. Please think of the familes of these children. Economic times are hard!
Karen Neumann October 06, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I agree. Let's spend less money. Who, in their right mind, would decide to spend an unnecessary $65 Million tax dollars in the midst of an ecomonic crisis? A clear example of why our nation is in the state it's in- folks making poor financial decisions all over the place over a long period of time. We don't NEED these two new schools right now- let's fix the ones we've got and wait until we can ALL afford newer, fancier facilities. I, too, am a Goodwin parent absolutely opposed to building new schools.
Kaptainsteve October 06, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I am a Goodwin parent and I in no way support the tearing down of perfectly good buildings because they will be better (read "newer") than the old ones. This reason is simply NOT good enough! Comprea this to the many citizens in this town, like me, who own old houses. We can't afford just to raze them, build anew, and we don't have the privilege of sticking are neighbors with the tab either. Many of us can't afford more tax increases. It's appears to be getting out of control. It seems that no one cares when you're the guy who loses his home, and has to move out because the last tax increase was the last financial straw for your budget. Doesn't Mansfield have room for everybody and not just those who see these tax increases as inconsequential? To some of us, these tax increases put our homes in foreclosure. For some of us, these tax increases, which to you may seem slight to you, bring misery and pain and force our families into hardship. Maybe not for you, but for some of us this is the real reality of your vision and intentions. Please, don't dismiss the financial difficulties that your philanthropic visions, funded by tax increases on your neighbors, bring onto them. It is real for some, maybe not you, but some. Think about those people once in a while before you FORCE your philanthropy on others, because what you see as philanthropy, can be your neighbor's financial worst nightmare. Some of us can't afford your good intentions.
Kaptainsteve October 06, 2012 at 02:01 AM
And what's funny, if you've been in these schools, they are in great shape. Now, someone from the town will point to a boiler that needs replacing or this or that. But, let's be real, nothing lasts forever, and who tears down a whole building due to a bad boiler or a worn roof? Buildings need maintenance and simply identifying maintenance issues does not rationalize razing the whole building. Seldom are buildings torn down due to what amounts to be ROUTINE MAINTENANCE/REPLACEMENT ISSUES and that is exactly what these things are. Use the same logic you would with your own home. How many people raze their homes when a boiler goes or the roof needs replacing.... virtually zero. These schools are not much different and the issues are the same. Please, don't increase our taxes yet another time. The Storrs Center was a boondoggle of enormous proportions and let's not sink ourselves with yet another scam. In these difficult economic times it is wise to be thrifty, not big spenders with tomorrow's money. Tomorrow may be worse and the money may not be there.
ric hossack October 06, 2012 at 06:31 AM
And the sad truth is, no matter how many times you say it, some still refuse to be dissuaded by the argument that MANY OF US CAN NOT AFFORD YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS. The issue of what to do with our schools is blatantly obvious Create a truly bi-partisan committee, comprised of TAXPAYERS, not staff or high priced consultants or councilors, and prioritize repairs/enhancements/additions and GET IT DONE ! Stop wasting time and money with endless meetings. The council should consider creating a "Planned Renewing Program" and funding it with $940,000 from the General Fund now and each year until the town and school board and parents and students and taxpayers have settled any and ALL issues. $940,000 represents ONE MIL in tax increase. This would be a one time increase of $168.40 based on an average assessed value of $168,400. I would prefer this option instead of the thousands and thousands any bond issue would create.

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