Greenwich PTA Council Urges MISA Funding

"A significant majority of PTA Council ... continues to be in favor of MISA, a long-overdue necessary repair to our Town's one and only public high school."


To the Moderator, Moderator Pro Tempore, and Members of the
Representative Town Meeting (RTM),

On behalf of Greenwich PTA Council, the umbrella organization for the
fifteen Parent Teacher Associations of the Greenwich Public Schools, I am writing to you in support of the Education Budget, as presented within the Town Budget, both Operating and Capital. We encourage you to vote for the Budget, including the appropriation for the Greenwich High School (GHS) Music Instructional Space and Auditorium renovation (MISA). A significant majority of PTA Council, many voicing the opinion of their PTAs' leadership, continues to be in favor of MISA, a long-overdue necessary repair to our Town's one and only public high school.

The PTA supports investments in education, especially when there is a direct benefit to students. You have the ability to bring such a direct benefit to all of the children in the District. A rigorous vetting process has determined the important impact on curriculum, performing arts activities, and school cohesion. The First Selectman and the Board of Education (BOE) have identified MISA as the primary priority among non-maintenance capital items for the schools, the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) has determined that it is prudent to proceed, and various regulatory bodies have indicated approval, with the opportunity for public input throughout.

The BET, BOE, and RTM Budget Overview Committee have recommended appropriating the currently proposed amount. The original reasons for commencing construction are still valid, strong community support is still there, and each year of delay not only costs the Town money, but also disadvantages hundreds of students who move through the High School. The MISA Building Committee, composed of a variety of experts and representatives from every branch of Greenwich government, has thoroughly examined the plans, budgets, and procedures that are required to see the project through responsibly. We ask that you continue to repose your trust in the processes in place, and in the BET, which will move forward only with every due caution.

We are all deeply concerned about the uncertainty thrust upon us by the
necessity of remediating the GHS fields. We urge you not to target an
individual capital expenditure as the solution. Please use the facts placed at your disposal by the Building Committee, the RTM Joint Committee, and the Departments of Public Works and Finance. Allow the assurances of the BET to prevail, that they have taken the future into account and will be prepared for any likely eventuality.

It is in the nature of the PTA to work for improvements that our own children will never see, and MISA is an excellent example. We try to leave our schools a better place for the families who follow us. This is your opportunity to join us, and leave the Town a better place for the next generation.

Thank you all for your dedicated and thoughtful service on our behalf.
Lisa Beth Savitz
Greenwich PTA Council

CS May 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Love to know what the vote was exactly. Very rare to have any dissent at all, especially on MISA. Some must be deeply worried about what this going to do to the projects for their schools. $8 million going to MISA just in the increase that their schools won't get.
Bill Effros May 14, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Last year's MISA appropriation was approved based on Board of Education assurances that MISA was "Shovel Ready". The Board of Education has now spent more than $5,000,000 trying to get MISA "Shovel Ready" with no success. The work done to date will have to be ripped out, according to new consultants hired by the MISA building committee. The MISA auditorium cannot be started until the ground is truly "Shovel Ready". Supporters now say the cost of getting MISA "Shovel Ready" should not be considered as part of the cost of building MISA. It is extremely unlikely MISA will ever be "Shovel-Ready" no matter how much money is thrown at the project. The high school grounds are so contaminated it is unlikely any new construction will ever be permitted for use by school children who come into contact with the contamination every day. This information comes from consultants hired by the MISA Building Committee, and can be found on the Board of Education web site. The MISA appropriation is just a shell game attempting to appropriate huge sums of money for one purpose and use it for another. Bill Effros
Bernard Schneider May 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Statisticians will tell you that the most vauable information comes not from the mass of similar information, but from the "outliers",those data points that do not conform to the norm. For example, if there appears to be a relationship between a town's edcuation budget and the performance of its students, what can we learn from a school system in a low-income community that performs at a consistently high level. The above article states that " a significant majority of PTA Council... continues to be in favor of MISA." I would be most interested in hearing the voice of those members of PTA Council who did not support/were opposed to MISA (in its current form). Does PTA Council keep a recorded vote, and would it care to share? Bernard Schneider


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