It’s deja vu all over again.
Last year, community outpouring in support of funding for Greenwich High School’s music instructional space and auditorium – more commonly known as MISA – was overwhelming.
The same widespread community support remains in place now a year later. And yet, the RTM seems to be re-enacting last year’s drama.
The community spoke loudly and clearly last year, the BET listened and the RTM approved a budget that included $17 million for the first phase of MISA, with the knowledge that there would be a second phase appropriation included in the 2013 budget.
Monday the RTM votes on this 2013 budget that includes $12 million for MISA’s second phase. A motion to delete is anticipated.
To delete some or all of the second phase money, under the guise of postponing the project, would be tantamount to killing MISA. And that would be tragic.
The very idea of postponement, which some advocate with expressions of concern about cost, makes no sense if the real concern is indeed cost. Postponement will only add to the cost of the project and put it at risk of lower reimbursement from the state. Could it be that the hidden agenda is, in fact, to kill the project?
All last year’s arguments in support of MISA remain equally valid today. After four years of serious planning and vetting the project, the community agreed last year that the time for MISA was “now.” If the need for this investment in our young people and our future was “now” last year, it’s even more “now” this year.
MISA should not be penalized for the soil contamination uncovered when work began early in the current budget year. The contamination was unforeseen and soil remediation at Greenwich High School will be required whether or not money is appropriated for MISA.
Moreover, The BET has conditioned release of the MISA funds, so that nothing will be spent without BET review of the overall project cost. And the budget also sets aside separate funds for remediation.
Is MISA worth doing? Last year, the community answered this question with a resounding “yes.” Nothing about MISA’s intrinsic value to the community has changed. The answer is still a resounding”yes.”
It’s time to move forward. So let’s not keep replaying old scripts.
The expectation of many knowledgeable people is that the motion to delete, after countless speeches, will ultimately be defeated.
For the sake of our young people, who are our future, let’s hope this is true and that the budget the RTM approves on Monday includes the full second phase funding for MISA.