On Feb. 25, residents of Phillips will have a chance to vote on a referendum to close or reopen the primary school on School Street.

The amount of funding available from the revolving renovation account for the renovations to the primary school was approximately $824,000. The school district decided that those monies would be better spent for the addition to the middle school instead of renovating the primary school.

The board sent an application to the state Department of Education which was accepted without the knowledge of the voters of Phillips. The board told voters at an information meeting that the cost of an architectural blueprint for the middle school addition would cost $75,000. This would leave $749,000 to cover costs on the new addition.

The board assured citizens at the meeting that if the bids to enlarge the middle school were more than the state amount, additions would not be made. The plan would then go back to square one.

Approximately $411,000 of that amount is a grant that does not have to be repaid and approximately $413,000 would be bonded by the district over a 10-year period to be repaid through taxation by local property owners.

The town’s debt load to the district is now $1 million.

We are being led to believe that we do not have a choice regarding the closing of the primary school. How can we vote intelligently if the costs of both projects have not been furnished so comparisons can be made? No estimates from contractors on either project have been supplied.

The state Department of Education representative told me on the phone that if the citizens vote to reopen the primary school, things would have to go back to the drawing board because the district prematurely submitted the application for the addition to the middle school.

Charles A. Wilbur, Phillips

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