Tolland taxpayers may soon face a big decision about whether to spend major money on improving their local schools.
School district leaders said improvements are needed at all four local schools.
At Tolland Middle School, for example, the superintendent wants to replace the windows and even the roof, but all that work is expensive and taxpayers may get to decide where to draw the line.
On Tuesday, the town council discussed a proposal to spend $9.6 million on improving Tolland’s high school, intermediate school, middle school and Birch Grove Primary.
"You have good school systems you attract more people to the town and get more people want to invest in the town," said Kevin Moran, who is in favor of spending the money.
The money would pay for things like new windows, carpets, doors, roofs and even equipment. The cash would also finance demolition work, as well as the removal of asbestos from the schools.
If the plan moves forward, there would be a few public hearings later this month on the topic, and possibly a referendum in November.
Tolland voters have mixed feelings about whether or not spending the money would be a good idea.
“We've lived in the town for 53 years, 53 years and there's been a lot of improvements. I'm all for all those improvements but it gets to the point where you can get to overdoing it,” Ellis Canal of Tolland said.
“You can't place a value on education, it's our kids, it's our future and I think we spend a lot of money on a lot of other things that are probably more frivolous so we need to spend it on schools, absolutely,” Mary Graf said.
Others aren't in favor.
"I think it's too much. Why is it needed? I'm a senior citizen, obviously I've already used the schools with my kids," said Ellis Canal.
Council Chair Richard Field said the time is right to finance the improvements because the town's perfect bonding score will lead to low rates, plus he believes if Tolland waits, the project will only get more expensive.
"If we let the schools deteriorate anymore, it's gonna cost us a lot more than what we're bonding now," Field said.
Superintendent of Schools Walter Willett said if the plan does go forward, the state could reimburse nearly 40 percent of the money through grants.
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