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Aldermen Approve $12 Million for East Shore (VIDEO)

Supporters say East Shore will still lack facilities and equipment that other Milford middle schools have.

The Board of Aldermen Monday approved a $12 million bond authorization, although not without a partisan confrontation.

Republicans tried unsuccessfully to add $2 million to build four additional new classrooms, arguing that the amount of extra taxes would have been negligible.

Alderman Paula Smith (R-3), who proposed the amendment, estimated it would raise taxes about $100 over 20 years on the average.

But Democrats, who hold a 9-6 majority, rejected the increase. They pointed out that in this economy, many taxpayers can’t afford any increase, and that the $12 million project would adequately meet the school’s needs.

The issue brought a vocal crowd of supporters to the Board of Aldermen meeting to urge approval of the project.

Residents, including a number of teachers and students at the middle school, spoke for more than an hour on the topic. Many asked the aldermen to approve the original $16 million, which had been pared down since last fall.

Even then, Democrats said that $12 million was the largest amount ever approved for renovating a single school in Milford’s history.

The project will give the school a new roof, new windows, expand the media center and cafeteria, and build new art and music rooms and four new classrooms (the proposed amendment would have raised that to eight).

The project would increase the size of the school from 60,000 square feet to 72,000 square feet.

But a number of parents and teachers complained that the renovations would still leave East Shore without electronic "smart boards" and other technology that the city’s other two middle schools -- and -- have.

Students who spoke complained about the overcrowding at East Shore, which was built 40 years ago as an elementary school and was never fully renovated as the other middle schools were.

Mayor Benjamin Blake said if the $2 million amendment had been approved, the aldermen would have had to re-notice the bond authorization ordinance in accordance with a 2008 bond council opinion.

Board of Aldermen Chairman Philip J. Vetro (D-4) said recent bids for a firehouse came in 25 percent below the estimated costs. He and other aldermen said they hoped the city receives favorably low bids allowing Milford to restore some of the items that were cut without having to increase spending.

Michael Brown February 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Many of the schools in Milford need upgrading or replacement. But when can we do what is needed? When the economy has improved enough? When state of federal government give us a grant. When Bill Gates gives us a donation? The fact is that there will never be a perfect time to do what's needed - but we need to do it all the same. So now is as good a time as any.
M. Antonini February 09, 2012 at 12:35 PM
JE, please go to the school and ask for a tour. You will see that the school could use a whole wing of classrooms and still need more. They just want a school equal to the other two middle schools.
Jan Sexson February 10, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I was appalled to find out that East Shore Middle School is so in need of updating that in the girls lavatory it is necessary to pump a pipe to get water to wash their hands!! Due to budget crunches, necessary renovations have been put off for too long. I agree, Michael, now is the time.
Larissa Watt February 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
What does pump a pipe mean?
Rusty February 12, 2012 at 06:45 AM
Hmmm,I wonder,LMAO!

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