A Gift The Giver Cannot Afford

To the Editor:

In the several letters which have appeared in The Bee urging the support of the almost-certain-to-be-passed October 5th referendum, a number of points are made and repeated with which reasonable people could take issue. But I believe that one comment, reiterated in several of the letters, is simply wrong.  That is the assertion that the demolition/re-building of Sandy Hook Elementary School is dependent on the approval of this referendum, and that there are “no second chances” should it fail.

Not so.  If the town is convinced that this proposal is the proper course of action, and if the town now is certain (unlike a year ago, although enrollment was greater then) that we absolutely require seven schools to effectively educate our children, there is an obvious “second chance” – we can float our own $50 million bond issue and pay for the school ourselves.

Contrary to the opinion of one letter-writer who felt that “…Anyone who votes no on October 5 must be out of their (sic) mind,” there is a certain logic and moral standing to this approach.  This is our town, our school system, our kids and our issue; perhaps we should not be trying to resolve it in a certain way because we can spend “someone else’s money.”

In the dialogue leading up to the referendum, the money has been termed a “gift,” but it is a gift that the giver cannot (or, at least, should not) afford.  Much too often our legislators in Hartford have been extremely generous with “other people’s money,” and that may help to explain why our state leads the country in per capita debt burden.

To the writers who said “…the world…will be watching,” I agree.  And what a powerful message a “No” vote would send to the world of our town’s strength, resilience and resolute unwillingness to rely on someone else to do for us what we wish to do for ourselves. 

So, for the likely majority who will vote yes on October 5, my congratulations on the referendum’s passage…but you might just ask yourselves, how would you have voted if it had been Newtown’s bond issue?

George Schmidt

12 Old Castle Drive, Newtown                    September 27, 2013

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