Scott Coleman considers himself part of a "silent majority" that is against the .
"Someone has to provide push back, especially for the silent majority party that does not get up and speak. They just go to the polls and vote," he said in an interview with Patch Monday morning. "Someone has to provide opposition and give people a different viewpoint or vantage point and let them make a decision for themselves."
Coleman said he was one of the people who voted down the . Coleman added that he thinks there could be thousands of people who are against the current referendum, however, they are just "not coming out of their homes to voice their opinions."
"We have to look at the numbers," Coleman said. "Education is out of control and you have to make decisions with limited resources."
His opposition to the project is part of the "democratic process,” and Coleman said he wants to help "provide the public with information that allows them to make an informed decision."
"No side is 100 percent right or 100 percent perfect and you cannot expect them to be," Coleman said. "Sometimes, we or our opponents have to dramatize our positions in order to get our point across because they have to speak over the noise of the opposition."
By adding items to the renovation project such as the and air conditioning, the high school referendum has become "bloated,” according to Coleman. He said officials should focus on developing a plan for the "school of the future," which will last for 30 years and have the latest advances in education.
"We need to do a better job of finding out what the needs are for the future," Coleman said.
was also part of the silent majority that voted down the previous referendum, and he said it was too complex, confusing and too expensive. However, his position changed after was in late March.
"We are discussing a serious issue that will have an impact on the entire town," Cusano said about high school possibly losing accreditation.
After , Cusano, along with hundreds of other parents, help found the , "which is focused on supporting a referendum on the high school renovation project that addresses the NEASC concerns."
His group is committed to distributing information throughout town and making sure residents know the "full impact of possibility of the high school losing accreditation," he added.
“This referendum has a different feel to it,” Cusano said.
Coleman understands that this referendum is a "passionate" issue that involves parents and their children, however he questions whether groups such as "Stay Accredited" are reporting misleading information to get votes.
"They are talking about honesty and the truth when they are trying to instill fear to get your vote," he said about groups that are in favor of the referendum. "To me, the schools and they have to prove this is worth $45 million dollars ... And they haven't proven their point. They haven't got my heart or mind."
Cusano said he respects the opposing side’s position and feels it is “a nobel cause to want to keep taxes down.”
"We are not using fear or fear tactics," Cusano said about claims of misleading the public.
Coleman stated he has not found any universities in the area that require students to attend an accredited high school for enrollment. Coleman said he called the admissions departments at several universities including Harvard, Yale, University of Connecticut and Middlesex College and none said a student's high school being accredited was a requirement for enrollment.
"It is silly to suggest that going to an unaccredited high school will not have a negative affect to a student getting into college," Cusano said.
Patch independently called UConn's admission office and the staff stated that high school accreditation was not a requirement of enrollment.
In the end, Coleman stated even if the high school is placed on a warning list by NEASC, it will not "jeopardize the ability for students to get into college, reduce property values or have a negative affect on businesses." He added there is no fidelity to the opposing side’s claims.
"They are about putting up a building, not teaching our kids," Coleman said. "A building does not teach our kids, teachers do."
Anyone interested in joining "Stay Accredited" can contact Cusano at email@example.com.