Board of Education should not clean up Osborn Hill

To the Editor:

The Board of Selectman and the Board of Finance just approved the Board of Education’s shameless request to issue bonds in the amount of $4.2 million to cleanup the PCBs that blew around Osborn School just last summer. The taxpayers will pay for the debt service on those bonds until paying them off on their expiration date. Bonding is not found money.

According to the Fairfield Sun, “the contamination was originally discovered when the school was preparing for window replacement. Key areas, including the library, some classrooms and halls, and the gymnasium, were found to have elevated levels of PCBs.” That timing is true inasmuch as that is when the contamination was discovered last summer. However, the timing of the contamination had nothing to do with the cause of the contamination.

The BOE has sheepishly not come clean on what its staff did to negligently propagate the previously stable PCB’s, installed as an ingredient of the gymnasium roof deck fireproofing of the 1970s, throughout the building including into all of the books in the library. And the BOS and BOF do not seem to care what went wrong to bring about the need for this expenditure.

Suffice it to say, the best explanation is that the education staff had a contractor working in, and on, the building last summer, who destabilized the PCBs and then the HVAC system blew the resulting dust from the gymnasium roof all over the place.

The work needs to be done. However, giving the education staff more money to do capital work is like handing a drunk a full year’s shopping spree at the local package store and asking him to paint your house. This project going forward should be handled by the town side of our government. Was it not First Selectman Tetreau and his challenger BOF member Bellitto, who both promised that if elected all big capital projects would be managed by professionals? The BOE staff does not have professionals; not competent ones anyway.

 

Jim Brown

Fairfield

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