MVSU board collects voter surveys

By Curt Peterson

The Mountain Views Supervisory Union (MVSU) board has distributed a four-question survey soliciting input from voters regarding the failure of a proposed $99 million bond to finance a new district Middle/High School complex. MVSU serves the towns of Bridgewater, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading and Woodstock.

The bond was defeated by about 60% of the voters in the district.

The survey questions include basic information: town of the survey participant, how they voted: Yes, No or Undecided (no vote), if they were eligible to vote, and if the participant would like to be involved more directly in crafting a solution and give more specific feedback.

The survey was more about the reasons behind voters’ choices on the bond than about the project itself, according to MVSU board vice chair Ben Ford, who also heads up the New Build Committee.

Ford told the Mountain Times that there were at least 1,400 survey responses (out of 3,550 voters) as of Tuesday, March 26, the last day for collecting responses. A small group of board members will analyze the results later this week, then share the results.

Although there has been noise about the tax implications of the project, Ford said “not one respondent cited a tax increase as their reason for voting ‘No’ on the bond question.”

His personal opinion is that the $99 million was “scary” for some participants, even though the cost per foot to build this facility is the lowest of its kind proposed in Vermont.

“The board is in ‘listening mode’,” Ford said. “We’re really hoping to get new ideas from the respondents.”

He said some respondents voted ‘Yes’ on the bond, but still felt they didn’t have enough information to feel comfortable with their decision. Some lingering questions included: How was the final concept developed and what options were considered? Ford said. “For example, the voters weren’t aware that we had slashed the cost of construction from $116 million to $99 million with our goal of keeping any resulting tax increase limited to 16%,” he noted.

Other concerns included whether the board seriously considered renovating, instead of replacing the existing facility. Ford said anyone who claims they had legitimate figures for “bringing the facility up to code” do not actually have any such numbers.

“We were assured by a team of architects, consultants and engineers who really considered the possibility, that renovating was out of the question,” he said.

One comment on “MVSU board collects voter surveys

  1. I personally responded to the survey and noted that the main reason I voted no was tax increase yet Ben Ford is lying in this article saying that not one person responded saying such. This man needs to be called on the truth. I also put my name there at a 30+ year resident of Woodstock to be offering my time on a board or any committee as to update I have yet to be contacted. It will be very interesting to see who they pick and choose moving forward. But we as residents of these areas should check, the truth coming out of peoples mouths in Woodstock a.k.a. Ben ford.

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