AES serves as powerful glue for holding our community together

To the Editor: 

I read with great dismay your article about the possible closing of the Altamont Elementary School.  My husband and I moved to Altamont in 2005, and, although we are relatively new residents, we love our home and value our community here in Altamont. 

Although we do not have any children, my husband and I understand the value of schools in our community and the sense of connection they provide for residents.  Schools affect every aspect of our lives, creating connections among residents, providing jobs, generating revenue to local businesses, and helping in very large part to maintain stable property values, which in turn fuels the tax base.

A good school like AES was a large part of why we moved to Altamont, and I truly believe the school serves as powerful glue for holding our community together.

I feel there is little I can do as a resident or a taxpayer to stop or even alter the course of the juggernaut that may eventually close AES.  Should the school close, we will be left with the same taxes, but less sense of community and potentially unstable property values.

Under those circumstances,  as a homeowner, I feel I must prepare for the worst-case scenario.  I also feel that taxpayers in Altamont deserve to know the real cost consequences of closing the elementary school on the value of their homes. 

Although I work for the State University of New York Albany library, and have attempted some research on my own, I have not been able to unearth any data on the impact of school closings on property values in our area.

The situation in Clarksville immediately comes to mind, where the elementary school was closed in June of 2011; that might provide a context for the situation in Altamont.  I think it would be most helpful if you, or The Enterprise, could do a story on the real cost of school closings on property values for the taxpayers in our village.

People deserve to know how the closing might affect them not only in terms of quality of life but also the value of their home, an asset that many people rely on solely to secure their future upon retirement.  The fact that a school district can manipulate the value of homes in a given area by controlled access to schools is entirely unacceptable and unfair, and should not be overlooked in this discussion.

Closing a school is very serious business for a community and for each individual within the targeted community and the decision to do so should be made in the most informed way possible.

Jean Guyon


More Letters to the Editor