Letter to the Editor: Priorities: Education not a New Town Hall

Tuesday February 21, 2023

Dear Mr. Editor:

The Covid 19 pandemic should have been a wakeup call for Newbury officials to get their priorities right. Rushing into building a new town hall should not be our first priority. Triton has been hit with a double whammy. It saw its students get shortchanged with remote learning and fewer support services, then a real shocker, the Baker Administration turned down its much needed request for partial funding of new construction. Now the three partner towns, Newbury, Rowley and Salisbury must come up with the funds for the multi-million dollar project.
The pandemic should have been an opportunity for town officials to learn about the positive impact of technology and remote working. While companies like General Electric have reset workspace priorities and found smaller less expensive office space, Newbury has been blind to this functional sea change and decided to go big.
In a perfect world the citizens of Newbury should have both; an iconic Municipal Campus facility which provides five star offices and meeting rooms, plus a rehabilitated Triton facility that enables our kids to get a quality education. We don’t live in a perfect world nor do the taxpayers have unlimited resources to pay for what is not needed.
Voters will be asked to attend town meeting on April 25th to kick off the funding of a new town hall. They will not be told what impact this will have on being able to fund Triton construction. We need to ask these tough questions and decide on our priorities. Is it about our obligations to educate our children or to satisfy the edifice complex of a few town officials?

Joseph B. McDonough, Esq. Fulbright Scholar
Main Street, Byfield

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