Many of those who attended the January 5, 2012 meeting where the School Committee “explained” its vote were surprised and confused to hear Chairman Loeb state (and committee member Laura Dietz concur) that “The vote at Town Meeting was not ‘not to sell’. The vote at Town Meeting was to support the School Committee relative to the sale and the change of governance.”
We encourage you to go back to the actual presentation of Article 26 at the 2011 Spring Town Meeting.
Watching this is 15 minutes well spent. Never is there any indication that by voting in favor of this article the town was supporting the sale of Little Neck. Quite the opposite: Mitch Feldman’s presentation of the article on behalf of the Finance Committee was focused on the “benefits of land ownership” (9:00) and his central point was that short term pain is required to achieve a long term gain for the community. At 5:50 he specifically defines the article as “all three boards asking for another $300,000 so that the School Committee attorneys can continue to oppose the proposed sale and to seek to change the governance of the Feoffees”.
The School Committee was last to speak and they had the opportunity to clarify any statements they felt might be misleading or inaccurate. Chairman Loeb chose only to say “The School Committee supports this motion unanimously” (12:40)
No reasonable person would have left the Annual Town Meeting believing that the School Committee had the town’s blessing to agree to the sale of Little Neck. The proposed sale may not technically violate the language of Article 26, but it is hardly consistent with what the voters of Ipswich were led to believe and it is hardly the course of action that voters had a right to expect from the School Committee.