Briggs school building needs help - S...

Briggs school building needs help - Sentinel & Enterprise

There are 59 comments on the Sentinel & Enterprise story from Nov 4, 2010, titled Briggs school building needs help - Sentinel & Enterprise. In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

If you trick-or-treated downtown in Ashburnham, you may have seen me. I was the fairy godmother handing out candy to kids and Briggs fliers to parents.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Sentinel & Enterprise.

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Ash Resident

Berlin, MA

#41 Nov 7, 2010
Jaime wrote:
No one has money right now, myself included. What little I had been saving for three years to finally be able to take my kids on vacation just went to replace leaky windows in July. I still have a chimney that needs to be repaired, a car that needs to be fixed, a wet basement that needs a pump installed, a well that needs to be re-dug, and countless other home repairs to pay for. I have children that require medical care, one needing surgery, and as of January 1, I will need health insurance to boot. That's right, in a few short months we will be losing our current health insurance coverage. And yet, I am voting YES for Briggs.
I have taken the time to carefully read all of the responses to this article, and have noticed a very common thread connecting those of you who plan to vote against the project - bitterness, anger, and an intense desire to "punish" someone/something for your unhappiness with various aspects of this town (misuse of funds, Cushing not paying taxes, etc). I hate to break it to you, but voting "no" does NOT punish the town government, Cushing, or anything/anyone with whom you are angry. It punishes all of the children who have to sit all day in that "sick building", and I do mean "sick building" - if you're not familiar with the term, look it up. It punishes all of us who live in this town, as our property values will continue to decrease. There is a reason why "there are 100 foreclosures in Ashburnham". There is a reason why people cannot sell their homes and "no one is moving here". There is a reason why I could not refinance my mortgage. We can all just sit around and complain about our current circumstances, or we can choose to do something about it.
If you are so unhappy with this town, move to another one, or work to make this one better. But, don't just vote "no" in an attempt to seek punishment for the things that you are unhappy about. Would you refuse to pay for medical care in an attempt to punish God for the fact that you're sick? Sounds a bit absurd, doesn't it? And don't just assume that those of us who are in favor of this project, are voting "yes" because we have money and can afford it - because clearly most of us cannot. But the Briggs building is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Numerous folks have put an enormous amount of time into finding a proper and cost effective solution. If you do not agree, work with the committee to voice your ideas, but don't just dismiss the issue and all of the hard work that has been done.
On a side note, I took my children Trick-or-Treating in the center of Ashburnham, and on Pleasant Street I spoke with an amazing "Fairy Godmother". She had three huge bowls of candy that she was giving out to all of the children and informational pamphlets that she was giving to parents. In fairy tales, a fairy godmother is "a fairy with magical powers who acts as a mentor or parent to someone and uses her magic to help and support them." In my opinion, this woman fits this description perfectly. She has been spending hour after hour working on this project to help and support all of the children that will walk the halls of J. R. Briggs Elementary, and all of us that continue to live in this town and want to make it a better place. While many of you were criticizing her, all I could think of was the sacrifice that she was making to stay home and continue to work towards the betterment of the town, instead of trick-or-treating with her own children.
Stop the fighting, name calling, criticizing, etc. and start working together to make things better for all of us. VOTE YES FOR BRIGGS!
Well said! I agree. VOTE YES!!

Westminster, MA

#42 Nov 7, 2010
Someone call "School Pride" and see if they will fix the school.

Fitchburg, MA

#43 Nov 7, 2010
Are you a fool you do not spend what you dont have!
This is why the country is where it is.
the people i know all 100% are voting no.

Berlin, MA

#44 Nov 7, 2010
Beth that is quite rude. If you do not agree with the issue then state it constructively.
An Observer


#45 Nov 7, 2010
"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" From How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnige

This applies to all the voters posting here. If you don't open your mind and research facts you will never change your opinion. Jaime is right saying people are angry. The older people have said when Oakmont was first built there was just as much controversy. I was an Oakmont student when Briggs was built and remember controversy then and Briggs replaced three buildings.


Fitchburg, MA

#46 Nov 9, 2010
I guess I am angry but I have read all the info and think I have the facts. Wondering where I can find the info about the building being "sick"? From the Briggs flyer I got today at my kids preschool, it says that the Dept of Public Health found poor air quality in a report from 2000. Any updated reports and should I be concerned the school will be shut down anytime soon?
Becky Pilsbury

Gardner, MA

#47 Nov 9, 2010
What say you, Meredith?

Any constructive ideas?

The Building Committee has been completly transparant and looking for ideas for 6 years. Do you need further information or have any questions, as a "Yes for Briggs" co-chair, if you would like to sit down for a cup of coffee, I would be happy to answer any questions I can.

Fitchburg, MA

#48 Nov 10, 2010
to Becky- Just wondering why you are calling me out on this blog- I am certainly not the only person commenting about the Briggs project and I bet I am not alone feeling that it may be too much money for such a small town as ours. I find it odd that you would address only me. I have many ideas and did attend some of the Briggs Building meetings in the past, but I think you guys like your meetings small. I think you all have done a great job getting your message out. I have all the correct info since I am on the Advisory Board, but thank you for reaching out to me.I was surprised to see a message on the blog for just me.

Fitchburg, MA

#49 Nov 10, 2010
PS- Just because I have an opinion and voice it, I should not be bullied by those of you whom disagree with me.
Ash resident

Manchester, MA

#50 Nov 10, 2010
Just as people get tired of the Mcdonalds analogy, I get very tired of people in this town always looking to Cushing for funds. We cannot change the fact that Cushing isn't taxed. I have no affliation with them, but it's not their job to build us a new elementary school. Many of the teachers there live in private residences in town and DO pay taxes. Cushing also provides jobs to to many locals. Their students shop and patronize businesses as well. In addition they have given to the town in the past to help fund projects such as the public safety building. Cushing is part of this town's heritage and isn't the problem. The problem is uninformed residents spouting the same old rhetoric instead of looking at the facts.

Ashburnham isn't the only town with forclosures. I don't think people are leaving this town in droves. If you are looking for a home in central Ma, you'd be hard pressed to find a better value than Ashburnham. We need to come together as a community and get this done. It is actually being 'fiscally irresponsible' to not fund this project now. As we can see the cost of oil is creeping up, building products are beginning to go up in price, and the cost of a new school is never going to be less than it is today. Even if you started at square one again, you'd end up in the same place 5 years from now with most definitely a higher price tag. Owning as home and living in a town costs money but if we act collectively we can accomplish so much.

Townsend, MA

#51 Nov 10, 2010
I too am tired of the irrelevant rhetoric. Cushing faculty and staff and their families are our neighbors. The tax issue is a moot point. That school has been a blessing in many ways for this town. On behalf of those residents who appreciate the gifts they have given, I say thank you. I'm glad to be your neighbor.

I am tired of people discounting the endless hours of intense work that your Briggs Building Committee and the Yes For Briggs group has done. Saying "I have many ideas," and trying to muddle the issues with meaningless comparisions doesn't help. The Briggs committees have and will always remain an open group of people who love to have others join and attend the meetings. We are CONSTANTLY asking for input and involvement from the community. Our meetings are ALWAYS open to the public. The statement, "I think you guys like your meetings small" is a ridiculous comment. How dare you attempt to speak for these volunteers. We have focused soley on our appointed task - to find a smart, sustainable and sensible solution to this town issue. We welcome everyone who is concerned about Briggs and wants to work together to find concrete solutions. Don't blame those of us who have continued this difficult work for own your lack of consistent involvement on this issue. I love that a member of the Advisory Board has taken it upon herself to publically criticize a volunteer committee. I don't think this is the opinion of other members of our town leadership. For those of you who would like to volunteer or who are currently volunteering on other Boards in town, your work is valued. Your work on behalf of us is very appreciated. I hope others continue to join and step up to the plate to help us build a better Ashburnham.

I too have an opinion and a voice and I choose to use it on behalf of building up my community. I have taken a lot of criticism over the few years for sharing information about Briggs, and I'm sure I will continue to receive it. I have no intention of backing down from fighting for Briggs. I just choose not to whine about it.

Matthew - I'm sorry you are angry. We are all struggling. To address your concerns, the air quality is monitored, but it is poor. I know that testing was performed again last year with similar findings. It is not a danger to our students and our amzing teachers and staff, but it needs improvement. Thank you for taking the time to read the flyer from your preschool. It has been a daunting task to try to find and educate all residents on the issues facing Briggs. The entire Briggs Committee has worked tirelessly to finally be at this solution. Years and years of complicated and confusing work have been invested on your behalf. Hope we can join together and get this project accomplished! Can't wait to see you all for Town Meeting! As Matthew said, "Bring it!" (But I don't think I can actually sit through a three hour Town Meeting in that purple dress!)

United States

#52 Nov 10, 2010
Maybe if the town got a new school then SOME Ashburnham citiens could finally sell their homes and move to a more fiscally responsible town.
Were FKed

Leominster, MA

#53 Nov 10, 2010
Beth wrote:
It will be turned down again. WE DONT HAVE THE MONEY.

I thought since we voted NOT TO REDUCE THE SALES TAX, which preserved the status quo in our finely tuned state government, that we could count on the state to fund our police, fire and schools.

I thought our children would be educated, our fire and police would be fully funded, and life in Ashburnham would bloom like a thousand flowers.
Becky Pilsbury

Gardner, MA

#54 Nov 10, 2010
You're right. I apologize for singling you out. I was reading the string from newest to oldest and you seemed to be the most vocal and I didn't go back further. I respect your opinion and respect your vote. How about that cup of coffee, my treat?

I would be happy to sit down with anyone for a cup of coffee to hear your side and to talk with you about the new Briggs.

Fitchburg, MA

#55 Nov 10, 2010
Thank you Becky. I apologize to you as well. I want to also thank you for all your hardwork on the Committee. I applaud you and anyone who takes time out of their lives to volunteer. Maybe we could have that cup of coffee some time!
An Observer


#56 Nov 10, 2010
I am one who feels the school department never has enough, if you ask them. But I do feel we need a new building. A school unlike a home is a tool. You see it in commercial buildings also. These are buildings built for a specific function. Just like a car, they wear out. Times are difficult but no time is ever the right time. I also remember when Briggs was built it replaced three buildings and it drew many opinons both yay and nay. I can't afford a roof for my garage but I will support Briggs as I feel it is needed. For you who feel it isn't needed I respect your opinions, I just hope they are based on more than emotion. Another thing to remember, a project once voted should be done RIGHT no matter the cost because no way can they come back in five years and ask for a a renovation, nor should they. If we as a town short change our selves now it will cost us much more later. By the way my youngest child will be graduating this year so I have no personal stake in a new building.
Reality Check

Townsend, MA

#57 Nov 10, 2010
Hasn't the town already spent hundreds of thousands on a feasibility study for the new school ? I know times are tough and nobody can afford higher property taxes (even if it is for a temporary debt exclusion and not a permanent override). But let us make the sacrifice for our kids. I think they deserve a state of the art school like those in wealthier communities. The thing I love about this town(and the reason I want to raise my kids here) is because of the way the people here look out for each other (like the benefit hockey game at Cushing)and the way the community comes together during tough times (Ice Storm anyone?). There is no doubt the school needs to be replaced (air quality that is poor at best, and a furnace that burns 26 gallons a day are just two of many reasons) so let us do what is right and not what is easy. Vote yes for a new building.
ash resident

Fitchburg, MA

#58 Nov 12, 2010
more like a 10 hour meeting- not no 3 hour tour- wear the dress!!!
Reality Check

Townsend, MA

#59 Nov 13, 2010
Ash resident, I agree with what you posted about Cushing and it's employees (and with Cathy). Complaining about side issues won't accomplish anything except make the person who is complaining (or another word I won't use in polite company) feel better. So lets get this done and give the kids a world class school. So regardless if is ten hours or three hours I think our kids are worth every minute we spend in the meeting, and every penny we spend on a babysitter ! I also think all supporters of our kids should wear dresses.

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