The future of Mosquito Lake School is uncertain, and some Upper Valley residents do not want to let it slip through their fingers. They call themselves Friends of Mosquito Lake School and Community Center. The group is made up of parents of school-aged children, people whose children long since graduated from the school and those who hope to send their toddlers there in the future.
At their Wednesday night meeting, the main topic was stopping the potential sale of the school.
There have been a lot of meetings that have to do with Mosquito Lake School one way or another this week. It came up at both the school board and borough assembly meetings. But the big one for Friends of Mosquito Lake School is tonight.
The borough planning commission will decide whether to recommend classifying the school property for sale. If they do recommend that, then the borough assembly could vote to actually put the building up for sale.
Borough Manager Dave Sosa says classifying the facility for sale does not mean it will definitely be sold. He says it just makes that option possible if it were to be the best choice. Sosa says there is no interested buyer right now.
The property is worth about $810,000.
Friends of Mosquito Lake School want to keep the facility borough-owned to serve as a school and community gathering place. Jim Stanford compared the resources of people in town to what people in the Upper Valley have.
“They have multiple facilities to hold meetings that are available for the public,” Standford said. “And I counted eight today. We’ve got one out here. That’s a powerful statement.”
Marianne Rasmussen says they’ll have about 200 “Preserve and Protect” the school petition signatures to show the planning commission.
“Most people are very happy to sign and they can’t figure out why this is moving so fast and why we’d sell a school,” she said. “Most people are very supportive of education.”
The easiest way to reopen Mosquito Lake School is to get ten students. The Haines School District plans to send out a survey to parents to gauge whether there are enough interested families to reopen. That survey is posted online, and the residents aren’t overjoyed with it.
“You’ve read the survey, it says, Mosquito Lake School was closed because of declining enrollment…would you like to send your kid?” Tish Hallet said. “There are no attributes of any small rural school, there’s nothing there.”
The group wants the survey to give more reasons why sending one’s children to Mosquito Lake School could be an appealing option. They plan to ask Superintendent Ginger Jewell to revise the survey before sending it out.
“You realize ‘Wow, this small classroom is an advantage.’ It might be an advantage for some kids who get overwhelmed in a big classroom or a kid that wants a very active outdoor program or some of the other things we’ve talked about,” Rasmussen said.
Friends of Mosquito Lake School will also look at other options for the building if there aren’t enough students to reopen it.
And tonight, they plan to show up in force to the planning commission meeting. As one member put it, they want to demonstrate that they “are Haines too, not just ‘the people over there.’”
The meeting is at 6:30 in borough assembly chambers.