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Community Feedback

Community Survey Responses
August 2023
Do you wish for the Milford High School/CTE and BALES projects to be combined into 1 (one) single warrant article in March 2024?
Do you wish for the Milford High School/CTE ($30.4 m) and BALES ($4 m) projects to be separated into 2 (two) warrant articles in March 2024 - voted on individually?
Check any of the following that you'd like to see removed from the High School Renovation project proposal to further reduce the overall cost.
RETHINK Historic BALES and CTE/HS Renovation Survey Responses
April 2023
Please select one category that describes you.
What do you believe are the next steps for the Historic Bales Building?
 We are currently using three (3) classroom spaces at Heron Pond for Preschool. What would you like to see happen next?
Project Drive students go between the HS and Bales building each day costing the District $70,000 in transportation fees.  What would you like to see happen next?
District Facilities (Maintenance) space is currently lacking.  Since the old barn at the High School is no longer safe, we currently do not have space to store or work on equipment, and we lack office areas.  How should we address this?
Should the Milford School District continue to pursue up to 75% state funding (Apx. $20 million) to cover the costs of the CTE renovation project including in-demand programs like Health Science and Automotive.
PRIORITIES: The input from our CTE/HS Renovation Public Forums suggested that the top priorities were the Career Technical Center and Deferred Maintenance at the High School. The next priority was undersized and poorly lit Art and Science classrooms. What should be addressed?
Additional thoughts I'd like to share are...
This survey is extremely skewed. It's embarrassing.
The rest of the high school is equally as important and serves the majority of students and it needs renovations and bathroom changes.
What can our own building/trades students do to help with the renovation? In particular, are they capable of building, or helping to rebuild, a new maintenance barn?
Are there any other funds/grants that could be pursued for the HS renovations. Any ARPA funds remaining, any other sources of funding to public schools in need of renovations to meet ADA and other mandated requirements? The district needs to think outside the box to get the things our schools need. Our HS condition specifically is a disgrace when compared to other local/abutting high schools. How do they tackle funding needs? Would a local large business like Hitchiner, Alene, Cirtronics, etc be willing to sponsor/fund an addition or room in the CTE building? The wing/room could be named after the business.
Milford needs a new high school!
Many of these questions were very directional and not fairly worded
The pursuit of the 75% grant has been going on for some time now. I would not want to vote anything in place until that money has been secured.
This survey was well written to promote support of all needed changes. Hopefully it will guilt a few people into voting differently in 2024.
I'm both a staff member with the MSD and a parent. I believe that more community engagement and education is important to help show and/or prove what is needed within the district and why. Our buildings should be utilized for hosting events to get community members and parents in to actually see our walls. While I believe that the preschool shouldn't be at HP, I also don't think its worth its while having them within the JMS building as it is. For the amount of students, their utilization of UAs, services, session schedule, etc. I believe that for many reasons, they should be at BALES with the SAU. Having K and 1st travel back and forth multiple times per day is a safety concern (increased traffic, increased opportunity for elopement, and more) and added time which complicates scheduling more than it already is. The times that Preschool would need to utilize accommodations within JMS is much smaller that what's needed with K and 1st grade.
Milford educators and students deserve safe and healthy learning spaces. We have know for almost a quarter of a century what 21st Century learning spaces look like. We are in a global economy where students need to be able to collaborate and communicate on a global scale. Additionally, those most likely to succeed, have access to tools during their middle and high school careers that encourage hands-on problem solving. Investing in our students will lead to their success as adults contributing to a prosperous community. At a bare minimum, our students will be more invested in their learning and more productive members of their school community in a high school that does not have HVAC systems that constantly leak and leave portions of the building unusable for lengths of time. There are pipes that leak and brown water that oozes down the walls of the cafeteria on occasion. Students who spend four years in the high school and staff that spend a career there deserve natural light, healthy air, clean water, a school free of asbestos tile, and safe learning spaces.
The high school school is a disgrace! Everything about it looks awful. It is embarrassing, especially after seeing other schools for sports. The whole school needs to be redone.
Demonstrate to the community what the cost savings could look like for the renovation. Start the process of promoting the project a lot earlier than you did. Create a virtual reality walkthrough of what the space could look like.
We need responsible upkeep. We can’t keep pushing things off until they can’t be ignored and cost the taxpayers millions. Figure out a maintenance plan and if that means hiring more maintenance staff than so be it! The town has passed so much and the tax increase has been ridiculous, it’s unfortunate the school needs have been effected by that.
I think the Bales project could have passed this year but people didn’t take the time to learn why we needed it. I’m sorry that it didn’t pass. It should have. Uninformed voters doomed the vote. Please continue to pursue these projects. My kids will be at Heron Pond and Jacques. I would love for them to have smaller class sizes and appropriate learning spaces.
Passing teacher contracts and paying your teachers, Paraprofessionals, and custodians a decent salary so that you have qualified staff to actually fill the buildings that are costing millions to the tax payers, not thrilled with the astronomical salaries SAU personnel are currently making
These questions are all very one sided. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the cost doesn’t mean they want to see failure or lack. These survey questions should be created by someone who is neutral with a background in survey development to avoid bias.
Taxes in this town are astronomical. Spend, spend, spend seems to be the mantra. How many of the administrators proposing this spending actually pay taxes in this town?
If we’re going to consider bring the JMS kids to and from bales for enrichments, though I do not support this idea, I do firmly believe the Project Drive students should not share/be within that same space. There seems to be a lot of moving pieces with these options, none really better then the other. If we moved the SAU to bales, could the former SAU space be utilized for Project Drive students and Maintenance? Is putting the preschool in bales an option? Could we use bales for SAU offices and preschool, with the potential to bring the JMS kids over once a week to utilize the gym? Additionally, I feel it’s a lot for the JMS teachers to bring children to and from the bales building each day for enrichments, it also poses a potential safety issue, as they’re walking though a parking lot. Just my thoughts, obviously not looking for answers to my questions. Good luck in your planning.
Maintenance is the heart of school buildings-- keeping things safe, clean, and running.. and its important to ensure there is adequate space for such projects and equipment to be worked on. Also, Scott hasu is the man!
I understand the red barn at the middle school is deemed unsafe, but is there a comparison cost between possibly repairing the red barn vs. building new space?
I’d like to see more future thinking education offered like biotechnology, robotics for example. As our town grows how do we plan to accommodate space in 10,20,50 years. Can we partner with local businesses to mentor or teach new technologies or share equipment for learning? I don’t feel confident the majority of our kids are leaving high school ready to run their lives and either work or pursue a successful college career. How can we better prepare them? Where are life skills courses? Personal financial management / planning courses?
Communication is usually promoting the positive aspects of updates. Sometime people need to hear the problems clearly before moving to vote for a fix.
Why was the barn left to fall apart? Sounds like they didn't do the maintenance and now they want a new facility. Not good.
It is very troubling to continue to see the administration trying the same ideas to spend funds on the SAU and the maintenance building and not looking internally to fix these issues with funds and existing spaces in the schools.
There are classrooms that are so hot come nice weather students will not focus. Students are already so invested in the CTE programs that we should be invested in the whole student and setting students up for success. If a student is interested in engineering, they need more than the courses in CTE and we need to create a program and path with a plan for those students to take calculus like they will be required to in college. If they’re interested in graphic design, they should be in marketing and creative writing to have transferable and relatable skills. We are giving our students a false narrative to believe these courses alone are going to get them into that field.
Our kids have become so disengaged in regular classes that we should be working hard to bring back the healthy competition among students for top 10, high GPA’s, and a desire to be and do better. If we have funding available, that should be spread for the school/district and big picture needs rather than amping up one program that students have high interests in without the promotion and “new” that this project is pushing for. I also would like to add that we have project drive students thriving by being in a different building with different opportunities. If that population comes back to MHS, we are doing not only them a disservice but also their peers at MHS by the behaviors returning as that is not the appropriate environment for them. They need the space Bales has to “take a walk”, go shoot hoops without a gym class going on, and spaces to just be alone that are not available at MHS.
I would vote for a new or completely renovated high school. It’s beyond time. You need to get the PR machine moving and make people understand this. My youngest is about to graduate but I will always support a new high school. And the football field is embarrassing. We need a turf field. Start a committee to get fundraising started for this.
Government seems to have a problem with thinking like tax payers with budgets. If we would offer each individual project as it's own warrant article explaining alternatives if the article does not pass for context...then let the tax payers decide what they are willing to take on.
I like concept 3 the best
Need a new or expanded gymnasium
MHS is in need of a whole renovation, not just maintenance. The building is significantly dated compared to that of ALL of our local high schools.
The plans clearly show how the high school will be modified or new buildings created in certain areas. Does that mean any other areas will remain as is or will some maintenance be done to them? Specifically there is a lot of failing piping in the English hallway. Will that be rectified?
Moving the districts offices does not serve the needs of students. Town funds should be used to DIRECTLY impact the lives of students and teachers, NOT satisfy the whims of district Admins
Find a way to make the Keyes baseball field nicer and safer to play on. It is a town field but the high school baseball team plays on it. The players on the team would just like a safer and nicer field to play on.
Its unfortunate that Bales didn't pass. I still support the Bales restoration, but since the timeliness for the state funding for the ATC is fixed I feel we should table Bales for now and focus on passing the high school renovations.
I think project drive is super important. Those kids need an outlet away from everyone. Putting them with the high-school population is not the answer. I do think they should be treated as a school system in this town and not sperate in the funding aspect. The budget should be for all schools.
MHS is in great need of updating on multiple fronts. As an MHS graduate myself and father to three students in the district I support all possible options for improving the amount of classroom space and quality of facilities to ensure my children and future generations of students have access to the best possible education.
This is a good start, but I believe the Bales funding failed because of poor awareness. As a medical sales professional for 23 years, people won’t support something they aren’t aware of and don’t understand the benefits of. The only reason my wife and I understood it is because we dug around online for information. The average tax payer just sees Bales as yet another addition to their tax bill and will have a knee jerk “no” vote as a reaction. I’d spend more time creating emails of how this project will benefit. People need to hear and see things 8-10+ times before they have a good idea of what you’re asking them for. Don’t be shy about how it will benefit them and the community and be pleasantly persistent about it. Changing hearts and minds is not easy, but persistence wins when the time and messaging are right.
It seems the agenda is to push for Bales renovation. Has anyone evaluated the cost of knocking Bales down and renovating/expanding Jacques building (with better parking/pick-up/drop off) where Bales currently is. This could address numerous issues instead of forcing Bales to be retrofitted as a space for needs that it doesn't seem to fit perfectly. History is important. But education of children with safety of adequate space for the children should take a priority over keeping an old building because it's historical.
Bales is part of our history and heritage and absolutely needs to be brought up to code to be utilized for our educational space needs.
Leave as little as possible up to town voters since I don't think they are reading or care about the impact that their "no" vote caused. Rolling it in with the school budget seems more likely to pass since it seems less likely that they would veto the whole budget. Also, when taking to people who oppose, remind them that someone paid for them to go to school and since they can't pay that back, they should consider paying it forward by supporting the local schools now for the next generation.
I believe the bales kids need a safe space away from the other high school students if they so choose. We shouldn’t put a price on a child’s safety. Kids with disabilities/ IEP also have the right to an education.
Bales students are worth more than 70K in transportation costs. Being off site has many benefits which the school district refuses to acknowledge. The district can save money in other ways instead of continuing to put down the PD students as less than. Also, I don't notice a price attached to any of the other questions- only for the Project DRIVE students. Wonderful propaganda.
Not understanding why this survey requests the respondent's email address three times. I would caution the board and the administration against requesting any money for anything other than the high school and CTE improvements and handling all the outstanding deferred maintenance at that location. Also, please work closely with the Selectmen to make sure that there is not any other big ticket warrant article next year that will compete with or overshadow this project! It is clear from the last two years warrant article requests from the school board, that no one is willing to spend big money on anything that is not 100% student focused. A new SAU or maintenance shed should ALWAYS take the back seat to renovations and desperately needed improvements to our schools. Finally, please make sure that there is an auditorium and that it can fit the entire student body for incredibly important school-wide assemblies. Milford has no space where large groups or entire student bodies can assemble. This detracts from the positive culture that the Strategic Plan tries to promote.
I would be interested in learning what other avenues are available for “local funding” besides residential property taxes
Our HS is in desperate need of renovations. The bathroom situation is appalling, leaks, outdated everything. Shame on Milford for not staying on top of maintenance over the years.
I am so disappointed the proposal for Bales did not go through. I think there needs to be more education to the community on this. The literature sent out only touched on the topic. They need to be convinced of the need and the $$ value. IF it was more likely to pass with the CTE renovation bond, that would be fine, but it seems our older community (that is challenged to pay property taxes on dramatically rising home values) is unable to bear the burden of large tax increases, and resists unless convinced of the value.
Expand preschool program at lower cost to residents than private options but still profitable for t he district. Explore hiring a grant writer to increase money into the district
Wouldn’t it be less stressful if one project was addressed at a time. Residents live on a budget. Shouldn’t the school? Years ago, Bales was deemed unsafe. It should be torn down. No use putting good money into a bottomless pit.
We already voted No, why try again?
If this project gets split into multiple efforts I would be concerned with the continuity of building that way and the extra cost and time that would cause. I am not sure if that was the intent of the previous question but that was how I inferred what it was asking.
Be creative with the CTE state funding. Incorporate some of the state CTE to offer addition tech courses around arr and science. i.e.. Graphic computer art, bio science partnerships with tech college and four year college pre requests.
Begin with portions of the high school being done at a time. I believe we should have a separate technology building to include career based learning -plumbing/hvac/electrical/carpentry/business/culinary/printing/photography/drafting/metal fabrication/ mechanic/medicine/cosmetology/ this building could house the maintenance dept so kids can learn about grounds keeping.
Bales should be used as SAU/Business/ all other offices not needed for direct support in the schools.
Preschool should be at Jacques- it is easier to transition kids in the same building they are familiar with. Potentially add in to Jacques to have more preschool classrooms. Worse case put preschool at Bales.
Sad to see renovations keep getting ignored and people don’t want to pay for them, yet they want a great education and top teachers and staff. How do you incentivize anyone to come when they don’t have good facilities to use?
Although I do feel the Bales renovation is in the town's best interest at this time, I do continue to have concerns that even with the renovation, Jacques will still not have the appropriate space for preschool. We have a high rate of students coming in from early supports and services in addition to referrals being made from parents and local childcare facilities with may high needs children making it difficult to meet their needs with such limited space. The program truly needs classroom space with bathrooms for more than 3 classrooms long term. There should be a space to provide a full-day classroom, there should be a space for children to participate in sensory activities and motor needs with appropriately size equipment, an there should be a fenced in play ground with appropriate size play structures. Preschool is the foundation for all things to come for our children.
We need to support renovating beyond just the 75% funding of the CTE. It should be a focal point of the educational foundation in the region.
I like having the preschool at Heron Pond.
We need to continue to support strong schools for our students!
We have to do something about the high school, it is an embarrassment to the community.
It would be nice, for a change to see a survey designed without bias. This reflects the desires of the SAU and certain members of the community and in no way addresses the district mission statement of letting our students design their own education. Another embarrassing survey.
The need to update the high school in Milford has so many far reaching positive outcomes for not only the students, but the community as well. I hope residence realize how creating a building that students take pride in will increase student buy in both for academics and extra and co-curricular pursuits. By offering a building that students feel inspired and valued only helps to grow our community. The happy end result for all residents will be increased property values and a better return on their investments.
We moved here 10 years ago from the Midwest and at that time there was one relatively newer school building, HP. Over the last 10 years our kids have been in every district building and we've seen the wear and tear that's occurred over time. Maintenance has deferred for far too long and the students in our district are paying the price. My kids have been district athletes from middle school through high school and we see firsthand what other schools look like, how well they are maintained both inside and out, the opportunities our students lack because of outdated and unrepaired facilities. It's easy to understand why parents are looking to send their children to schools outside of our district and it has to be frustrating for our teachers and district staff to deal with this on an everyday. Changes, and a lot of them, need to happen asap before things get worse. When these projects keep getting voted down, it's a huge reflection on our community and what their priorities are. As a parent it's sad to see our residents not care enough to do better for our students. School should be a place where they have opportunities to learn and excel, to explore their interests or try something knew, to grow in so many ways but instead they deal with outdated resources or lacking equipment and facilities that are beyond outdated. Our students need better and deserve better.
More money should be funded to improve the HS building and also the fields. It’s embarrassing and the tax payers pay an enormous amount of money with nothing to show aesthetically speaking. Put money into building up parks and refs and making improvements to the actual HS
I believe this is something that does need to be addressed and need planning for the future. However, there are other problems that needs attention before this Renovation should begin. Heron Pond Elementary has none drinking water because of lead being detected in the water pipes. Leaving the school with less than 6 water filters that students and workers to use. So, I ask this question of importance of project, rebuilding a historic building or providing proper drinking water for the next generation?
I think that Preschool needs to at JMS
Increase the size of the gymnasium to fit all students at once and allow 2 teams to practice at the same time. Add Artificial grass to athletic field providing a safer environment for students to play on.
The high school needs extensive renovations....however we could get there, I would support!
Please fix the mold problem and water leaks in the HS
I am not sure if I answered everything properly in this survey but whatever school needs I would support. I cannot believe the vote failed by 16 votes....If you tell parents what to vote for we will.
Projects that help students should be the first priority - not office space.
You will notice most of my answers were "Other". This survey is narrow in it's intent and will result in a narrowly focused set of solutions. Our problems in today's public schools will require creative and critical thinking to move our educational system forward. Something to think about. You have my email address and I would be willing to discuss this in even deeper detail since this is what I did for the last 25 years of my 36 years in manufacturing. The principles are transferrable. BTW - the title of this survey starts with "RETHINK". Most, if not all, the answers provided have been thought of before. Just an observation.
This survey seemed quite leading bordering on inappropriate. For example: "Do nothing. This will shorten the life of maintenance equipment." "I support a Project Drive location at the high school. Include an Alternative High School Program space in the renovation proposal. Keep Project Drive at BALES and continue the $70,000 transportation costs." - This lacks cost to renovate option 1 not to mention that students are at BALES for specific reasons and should not be boiled down to a purely financial decision. Your data will not be reliable when providing such a bias survey.
I hear a lot of complaints about the state of the high-school, let's address all of them.
It would be cost effective to do everything at once rather than piece things together.
Fix bales ..fix the barn.. 2 things done.