Letter: Middle school ‘by far the most expensive school to be built in Concord’

February 9, 2023

We have been residents of Concord for 50 years and put both of our children through the Concord school system. When our son entered first grade in 1981, the Ripley school had just closed and the entire student body moved into Alcott (no redistricting). The students lost their cafeteria and were forced to eat their meals in the auditorium. School plays and other programs, which Willard and Thoreau students enjoyed, were limited for Alcott students. This situation remained in effect for the rest of our son’s time at Alcott, as well as for our daughter, four years behind.

Despite the cramped conditions, we feel that both our children received a good education at Alcott school, which was rebuilt in 2004, along with the Thoreau school in 2006.

The High School opened in 2015 for a cost of $93M, of which the town of Concord bore about $46M, after state aid. In 2013, the High School had similar cost overruns as the Middle School. However, because the state was contributing to the funding, they said “no” and the school was forced to be completed on budget.

The Middle School is by far the most expensive school to be built in Concord and, because it uses only town funds, is not subject to any of the cost constraints that a state-subsidized school would be. Whereas a Middle School which met the state requirements would cost about $80M, the actual initial price was $102M, because of the larger footprint that the administration wanted, due to the “way we teach.” Now the Middle School is having the same cost overruns that the High School had, and there is no state agency to say “enough is enough!”

Our question is why must we go from one extreme to another? Will having an atrium and an elaborate auditorium better prepare our Middle School students for life at the High School?

We have loved living in Concord all these years and appreciate the good education that our children have received in the Concord schools. Over the years we have volunteered in the schools and served on town committees.

Senior citizens live on fixed incomes and the real-estate taxes are by far the largest taxes they have to pay. The Middle School will add $1,200/year to these taxes. Many cannot afford continually high tax increases. We urge a “no” vote on February 16 and that the Middle School stick to its original budget.

Lois and Michael Rudd

Barretts Mill Rd.