Recently Mr. Enrico Cappucci of Shirley has spoken about the actions of the Ayer Shirley Regional School Committee. Mr. Cappucci serves on the Shirley Board of Selectman. Many of Mr. Cappucci’s statements are misleading and incorrect, starting with his letter to the editor published the week of Nov. 27:
* “First, 632 voters from our community sent a strong message in voting down this ballot question issue on Saturday, Oct. 6.”
This is incorrect; 632 is the combined total of “no” votes in both Ayer and Shirley.
* “Shortly after that vote the School Committee, in an attempt to influence a more favorable outcome, announced that a donation of $500,000 was donated by the Norton Family of Ayer towards the field project.”
The pledge was announced Oct. 3, before the election. Mr. Cappucci has no knowledge of when or why it was released when it was.
Similarly, he has no knowledge of when the monies would be received or how they would be used, though he says later, “the truth is that the amount was not a donation but a pledge to be delivered over a period of years and thus unable to reduce the present request of $7.1 million. While this donation would be well received, it would never have any effect on the amount of money proposed.”
On Nov. 6, the Regional School Committee voted 5-0, with Mr. Quinty abstaining, to reduce the taxpayer burden to $6.6 million considering the Norton Foundation’s pledge.
* Mr. Cappucci then turns his attention to the elementary schools in his letter: “The School Committee noted at the Oct. 15 Special Town Meeting that the future plans to renovate the Page School at a cost of $50 million need to be addressed,” and “The Lura A. White Elementary School would not be included in this project.”
There was no discussion of elementary schools at the Special Town Meeting, but rather the Oct. 22 Shirley selectmen’s meeting. At that meeting I made it clear the School Committee has not taken a position on submitting a Statement of Interest to the MSBA, nor which school would be preferred. This has been said at multiple town leader and public forums. As of Dec. 4 that position remains intact.
* Lastly, at the Dec. 3, selectmen’s meeting, Mr. Cappucci accused the School Committee of not allowing Mr. Quinty to speak at the Nov. 29 fields project public forum, and that School Committee members walked out.
Again, not true. No members walked out, Mr. Quinty was afforded an opportunity to describe his idea, and audience members were allowed to question Mr. Quinty’s idea. This has occurred at multiple forums even though Mr. Quinty’s idea has nothing to do with the approved plan.
The School Committee’s meetings are publicly held, minutes are recorded, and meetings are regularly recorded by APAC and SPACO. If Mr. Cappucci is so concerned with speaking for the Regional School Committee, I suggest he attend a meeting, review the minutes, or watch the videos so he is relaying correct and truthful information.
(The author is chairman of the Ayer Shirley Regional School Committee and serves on the Ayer Shirley Regional School District Fields Upgrade Committee.)