by Eric Oberman
According to a presentation made by the BOE, repairs are necessary at all 10 schools, the BOE building and Kehler Stadium. In total, these repairs will cost about $14 million.
In a letter to WHS parents, Principal Mr. Peter Renwick stated that 83 percent of the WHS roof is in need of repair.
In a separate interview Renwick said: “The need to repair the high school roof is critical. Whether the bond passes or not, the high school roof must be repaired.”
According to the presentation, if the bond passes, it would be paid back over 20 years, the typical lifetime of a roof. Construction would start on the WHS roof in the summer of 2013, and all buildings would have new roofs by the summer of 2014.
A referendum with the same provisions for roofs, along with a provision for a new lighted turf field for WHS failed in September. If the new referendum does not pass, the repairs will still be made, but they will be funded by reducing spending in other areas.
In his letter, Renwick says that up to 50 district jobs could be eliminated if the referendum fails, including those of teachers, counselors, and administrators. And, according to the BOE presentation, class sizes could increase, and electives and athletics could be reduced or eliminated.
Said BOE member Ms. Jane Clancy: “The operating budget for the next school year would be severely impacted.… The [WHS] roof must get done next summer.…That means the Board will once again need to make dramatic cuts.”
The town will be holding a bond referendum to fund new roofs for Westfield schools on Dec. 11. If it fails, there is potential for budget cuts in the district.