Residents of Plainville voted Tuesday in favor of a multi-million dollar proposal for school renovations.
The proposal mostly concerns improvements to Wheeler Elementary School on Cleveland Drive. Those improvements include upgrades to its roof and mechanical system, adding air conditioning and connecting two wings of the building, according to Superintendent Maureen Brummett.
The district would also add a second door at the entrance of the building to improve security. That is something parents we spoke with said is important to them.
“It’ll [drop-off] be less chaotic and our kids will have security going into the building, which right now is a necessity in the state,” said Becky Martinez, a mother of two boys who will attend Wheeler Elementary.
The school district has the funds necessary to take care of these improvements, thanks in part to the state. The total project will cost $25 million, including the upgrades at Wheeler as well as improvements to the Plainville High School parking lot, curbs and drainage system.
The state will reimburse Plainville approximately $12 million. The remaining $13 million will be paid for over a span of 20 years and taxes would not go up. Town Manager Robert Lee said that is because of how the town’s debt services are playing out. The town is paying off some older debt, which will free up room in the budget.
“The problems and all of the issues with the schools will continue. They’re not going to fix themselves. So if we don’t do this when we have the funding to help us out, then it’s going to be really hard to get this done later,” Martinez said.
Not all voters agreed. John Kisluk, who previously served on the building committee for Tofflon School, said he feels the district does not need to move forward with cosmetic improvements, such as minor changes to the ballfields.
“The things that they demolish and throw out is millions of dollars of waste,” Kisluk said. “All stuff that’s not necessary. It’s not needed for the safety and education of the children. It’s a huge waste of money. I just believe that project can be chopped way down,” said Kisluk.
Overall 1,252 people voted on the referendum – 1016 in favor and 236 opposed.