Beware of red herrings with Old Greenwich School funding proposals

Newsletter Volume 1 • Number 38

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DON’T GET FOOLED by the sketchy, last-minute, Old Greenwich School (OGS) plan from Republican members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) members.

The OGS Building Committee has been working on the actual, Board of Education (BOE) approved, renovation plans since last year. Those plans address critical issues with the school:
• Secure entrance
• Fire suppression sprinklers
• Adequate ventilation
• Remediation for sewage flooding of classrooms
• ADA compliance

The patchwork proposal that five BET Republicans described in the Greenwich Time last week is a red herring. This ruse would actually delay the real OGS project, derail the legitimate progress of the Building Committee, and increase costs for taxpayers. Even the Republican chair of the BET did not sign it because it’s a bad plan!

The BOE, by contrast, reaffirmed “its commitment to move forward on the Old Greenwich School renovation project,” and acknowledged an updated project cost of $35.9 million if funded in the FY23-24 budget. By contrast, if funding is delayed, costs escalate by $2 million for each year of delay.

As a fallback, if the BET refuses to provide the full amount, the BOE is begging for $1 million to keep pre-construction work on track. Getting zero dollars this year, as proposed by the First Selectman in his budget submission, will halt design work and delay construction for a fourth year in a row.

What about demolishing OGS?

BET Republicans are now pushing to demolish OGS. That may sound good, but don’t be fooled—it’s just another red herring, dragged out by BET member Nisha Arora, who claims it will cost less to start anew than to renovate portions of the existing building. Anyone watching the commotion over Central Middle School knows Arora holds outlier views about what it actually costs to build schools to 2023 standards.

The Old Greenwich community loves their more-than-a-century-old building—and we thought Greenwich was all-in on preserving local character! Notably, Republican BOE member Karen Kowalski acknowledged “the overwhelming support from the community was to keep that school. That school is iconic.”

The BET will take their final vote on April 4th. Tell them not to follow the scent of that Republican red herring. Email them at

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We need your help to pass gun violence prevention laws

CT Against Gun Violence is asking for help in getting legislators to co-sponsor the Governor’s Act Addressing Gun Violence, HB-6667. The bill would close loopholes in the state’s assault weapons ban; strengthen penalties related to the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines to make that ban enforceable; and increase the age to purchase all firearms to 21.

Please urge Republican Senator Ryan Fazio to join the Democratic members of our delegation in sponsoring this piece of landmark legislation.
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Editorials that caught our eye

Letter to BET from principal of Old Greenwich School
“As the proud principal of Old Greenwich School, I know intimately the needs of our building, students, staff and community. I can also confidently assure you our Old Greenwich community is unequivocally in support of the preservation and renovation/alteration of our iconic school building.”

Fiscal prudence or fiscal negligence? Michael and Sue Bodson write in the Greenwich Time: “True to their history, instead of looking for creative ways to address these projects in an expedited manner, the BET Republican majority is narrowly focused on spending as little as possible on Central Middle School, pushing to downsize the project […].They have also opposed funding Old Greenwich School in this year’s budget […].Here is where fiscal “prudence” becomes fiscal negligence. These capital infrastructure improvements are not items of choice. These are literally brick and mortar necessities for a healthy, functioning and vibrant community.”

For your calendar

The tree doctors are coming! Join Greenwich tree warden Dr. Gregory Kramer, John Conte of the Greenscape Committee and Arborist Allan Fenner to get all your tree questions answered. March 30, 5:30-6:30 via Zoom.

Jim Himes

“U.S. Economic and Political Security: What are the threats?”

U.S. House Representative Jim Himes will discuss a range of issues including China, Russia, climate change, social justice, economic recession, inflation, immigration and terrorism. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and is Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. April 5, 11:00 a.m.Retired Mens’ Association of Greenwich37 Lafayette Place.

 For your calendar

Drop in for coffee and conversation with fellow Democrats, and learn how you can get involved in our efforts to preserve democracy. Saturday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m. at Coffee for Good.

Come crush it with us at this evening of ping-pong, food, drinks and friends! Bring a friend, or two.

April 1: Rethink Waste Fair.
Join Waste Free Greenwich for an engaging, family friendly event to explore ways to rethink waste. Activities include eco-friendly vendors, composting and cooking demos, arts and crafts projects, book exchange, interactive exhibits and more.

At noon, First Selectman Camillo will issue an Earth Day Proclamation, and the Greenwich Sustainability Committee will announce the recipients of its newly established Sustainability Award.

The fair features a recycling drive. A full list of materials for the drive and guidelines for donation are available here.

April 1, 11:00 am -3:00 p.m., Christ Church Parish Hall.

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