To the Editor:
As residents of Greenwich for over 15 years, our town has been the best place to raise our family and retire. Thanks to the careful Republican led stewardship of our town, we have high quality town services, public safety, excellent public and private schools, and affordable taxes.
Capital spending and planning for schools has sadly become very political. Most want more done right away but prioritization and completion of projects is the challenge. The much needed rebuild of CMS is a good example. The BOE and GPS Superintendent in their capital plan decided to fund Central Middle School in FY34 but prioritized Cardinal Stadium and Havemeyer. The current BET, led by Republicans, pushed for CMS as a top priority in FY2024. The rebuild of CMS is the largest capital request this year, representing roughly 60% of Greenwich’s total capital budget. In addition, there are 120 BOE projects, for which the BET allocated $61.3 million, that have not been completed as of March 2023. Additionally, 205 other town projects with $85.7 million in capital allocated that are still not finished as of March 2023. The total is $147 million worth of capital projects, funded by the BET that are not yet completed. Residents should ask why there are still so many projects for which capital has been allocated but not finished? Where is the oversight and sense of urgency from the BOE and Superintendent to complete the BOE projects before requesting record capital in 2024?
The modernizing of Old Greenwich Elementary School – to renovate or rebuild – is another important topic. There are immediate problems with ADA accessibility and sewage that can be addressed. The Republican BET budget committee proposed funding to address the ADA and sewage issues while the BOE and BET evaluated the merits of rebuilding the school versus further renovating. The motion was rejected by the Democrat BET members of the budget committee.
Some have created a narrative that Republican BET members haven’t funded school and town capital projects. The facts are that the BET led by Republicans have committed significantly more to capital projects over the years than any other BET, including in FY 19/20 under Democratic leadership. In FY 19 and FY 20, the Democrat-led BET funded $18 million and $24 million respectively in school capital with an average capital spending of $21 million. Your current Republican BET funded $56 million in FY23, 2.7 times the average the Democratic led BET funded in FY19 & FY20. FY24 will be more funding in school capital. Maintaining the highest quality of education is also the most important priority. The Republican led BET has consistently provided the support and resources needed and are committed to keep Greenwich a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. We thank our BET for their continued discussions and the right path forward.
Treasurer, Greenwich Republicans
Vice Chair, Greenwich Republicans