Spend Money Now or Pay More Later

Norton residents Marie and Dave Thompson share their opinion on the high school building project.

To the Editor:

This week we’re replacing our windows in our home.  It’s been 25 years since the house was built and the windows no longer keep out the heat on a 90° day or a cold draft when the temperature dips below freezing.  Believe me, it’s not an expense that we really want right now, especially with gas prices hovering at $4.00 a gallon and our oil bill for the past winter the highest it has ever been since we moved to Norton in 1993.  We have a choice – continue to pay to heat our home each year and have some of that heat escape through the cracks and crevices in the window sills or “bite the bullet” and pay to have the windows replaced, ultimately saving us money on both heating and cooling our home in the long run.  The decision has been made.  Contractors provided proposals, windows were selected, the best price was negotiated and the installation team will be here bright and early tomorrow morning.

We have a similar choice on June 6th.  Our town has a 40-year-old building with its share of wear and tear.  It also has the original single-paned windows from the day Norton High School opened its doors.  Can you imagine the heat that is escaping each year through those windows and the effect that has on the environment in the classrooms and the cost to heat the building?  And while we’re on the subject of heat – the high school uses electricity to heat and cool the building.  Not a very economical way to heat or cool a building of that size.  These are just two of the many reasons why we as a town need to “bite the bullet” and fund the proposed renovations, repairs and addition for Norton High School.  The time is now to get the best price for the repairs and renovations that are badly needed to this building.  The feasibility study and schematic design phase of the project is complete.  The next step is to pass the Norton High School renovation and sewer project article at the Special Town Meeting on June 6th.

So what will your choice be?  We have an opportunity to make an investment in our town, our school and the future of our town’s children.  Please join us in voting YES on June 6th and again during the ballot vote on June 11th.


Marie & Dave Thompson

Hickory Road


Johnna Masala June 01, 2011 at 11:03 PM
I had such a good conversation with my kids today about the "VOTE YES" signs in town. They came home from school today and asked my why I would be voting to pay more taxes. It gave me an opportunity to explain things to them. And in turn....my thoughts became more easy to pass on. I hope this is something that makes more sense to a lot of people. 1. I am voting to pass this over-ride. Do I WANT to pay more taxes....of course not! Seriously, who WANTS to pay more taxes. But it is a necessity for our community! We have schools that were built so long ago that they no longer fit the needs of our town. We have grown out of them...and due to our "saving ways" we haven't done a great job in keeping them up. So we NEED to pay more taxes to make this happen! 2. Our schools, because of their neglect and inability to keep up with what the current needs are for proper education and housing....are in jeopardy of losing their accreditation. If that happens...our children will be going to school in a town that where their education doesn't mean anything. 3. The most convincing part for me about this whole thing is....if we don't do this now...we will lose the opportunity to have 64.42 percent of the cost reimbursed to the town. That is like saying "I have a coupon for 18 Million Dollars...but I would rather wait until it expires to get this work done"! That's just plain crazy! So do we WANT to pay more taxes...NO...but unfortunately WE NEED TO!
Tom Golota June 02, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Johnna is correct in many ways. However, I would like to clarify one thing. Johnna mentions "and due to our "saving ways" we haven't done a great job in keeping them up". That is incorrect. Our Central Office and custodial staff does an excellent job of maintaining our buildings. In fact, the MSBA gave us 1.75% out of a possible 2% extra in the reimbursement rate due to the way we have maintained the school. NONE of our schools have been neglected! The accreditation board looks at the educational opportunities as well as the physical facility. We have antiquated and undersized science labs, not poorly maintained ones and that is the type of item that the accreditation board marked us down on. The bottom line is that this makes good fiscal sense. If something cost $1,000 and you gave them $1,000 for it, wouldn't you be happy to receive almost $650 back?
Johnna Masala June 03, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Tom....I didn't mean to say that the schools weren't kept up well. I am proud of what Norton has done with the money the schools have gotten in the past. I am saying that there is so much more that needs to be done. Maintenance wasn't really the issue I was trying to get at. I was really talking about keeping up with the growing needs of our community! I'm sorry if it came out that the custodial staff isn't doing an excellent job. We all know that the staff of the Norton Schools.....goes way above and beyond what should be asked for them to do! That has always been one of the reasons I have been so proud to send my kids to Norton Schools. I know that the teachers and all the other staff.....are obviously not there for the money...they are there for the students!!!! I love that about Norton! I hope that clarifies my intent. And I agree with Tom's bottom line....but with one adjustment..... If you know you HAVE to buy something at some point that will cost you $1000.....and you got a coupon for $650 off....why would you wait till it expires? NORTON HAS TO SPEND THAT MONEY AT SOME POINT....AND IF WE DON'T DO IT WHILE WE HAVE THIS COUPON.....THEN WE WILL BE PAYING THE FULL AMOUNT AT SOME POINT. And actually it will probably cost us more by then! If you were considering voting NO....please reconsider. Your NO vote....is gonna cost all of us a lot more down the line! Let's use this coupon! Show everyone that Norton is fiscally responsible!


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