May 8, 2013

A Response to Schools’ Sustainability Resolution With Reference to the Valley Road School Building

To the Editor:

Upon reading the article on page 5 of the May 1 Town Topics [“With District Resolution, Princeton Gets Closer to Sustainable Jersey’s Silver Certification”], I felt a diatribe coming on. Precluding the good works of Princeton’s sustainable supporters, what about a certain brick building on the corner of Valley Road and Witherspoon Street directly across from the sustained new Community Park Pool?

Yes, I am talking about the almost 100-year-old Valley Road School Building being held hostage by Princeton Public Schools (PPS), whose indifference is stopping the Valley Road Committee from turning the building into low cost non-profit office space and a conveniently located community center, at no cost to the taxpayer.

PPS claims the cost is too high to make the building sustainable. As Mark Twain says, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

The building has become a storage place that is deteriorating. PPS says it has not been kept up as it has not been used as a school; however, if the property is left to rot, it will become something that belongs in a war torn village, leaving all of us, taxpayers, to dig into our sustainable and unsustainable wallets to pay for the mess.

With this vivid example in front of our faces, PPS should not have dared to issue a Sustainability Resolution. I found it contradictory though what I actually want to say is hypocritical. How could they endorse the “Principles of Sustainability” and present it to Sustainable Princeton’s Green Schools Coalition? How could they?

I want to believe that Sustainable Princeton and the group of concerned parents and residents that form its Green Schools Coalition are not fully informed of the way that PPS picks and chooses, at their convenience, what the model of Sustainable Jersey emphasizes as the school district’s role.

I don’t see any integration of ecological, economic, and social goals that improve the quality of life in this equation. And, should I be somehow wrong in my comments, I eagerly await a public response to this letter from any concerned member of PPS, Sustainable Princeton, or Sustainable Princeton’s Green Schools Coalition.

Sandra Jordan

Grover Avenue