In just over a week, Phase 1 of the campaign for a new high school will be complete. On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Special Town Meeting will be called to order and hundreds of people will pack the high school field house to hear school administrators and other town officials drone on at length about the dire need for a new high school.

Most of those present will have never attended a Town Meeting before and likely never will again. They will be there at the behest of the local education lobby, which has put out an urgent call for warm bodies to come out and vote “Yes for WMHS” on Jan. 28.

For a few hours, an audience consisting mainly of parents of young schoolchildren, current and former “educators,” town officials and fans of higher taxes will try to stay awake as the old, familiar arguments are trotted out one more time.

We’ll hear once again about the grave deficiencies at the 60-year-old current high school building – deficiencies that threaten the school’s very accreditation! It will be noted in somber tones that the school has been placed on “warning” or “probation” or something, with the implication that it could face loss of accreditation altogether!

In truth, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which provides accreditation services, is a voluntary, nonprofit, membership organization. They aren’t in the business of losing members by pulling their accreditations. And even if they did, losing NEASC accreditation has been likened to flunking a test that doesn’t count toward the final grade.

As a private organization in which membership is voluntary, NEASC has no authority to close schools or require improvements. According to its own web site, NEASC gladly supports schools “wherever they are on the continuum of improvement and/or transformation.”

School officials will assure Town Meeting that a new school will result in improved educational outcomes. Does that mean that students at the newer Dolbeare School are getting a better education than pupils at the 126-year-old Greenwood School? If so, where’s the “equity?”

Speaking of equity, is a new high school necessary in order to continue teaching a CRT-infused curriculum and proselytize on the “problematic” nature of gas stoves?

It will be stressed at Town Meeting that a new high school will increase your property value. That’s great if you’re planning to sell. If you’re planning to stay in your home, higher property values just mean higher taxes.

You’ll be told that new schools attract new residents to town. Of course, they will have to be the caliber of people who can afford the aforementioned higher property values. Some of those well-heeled types will move on to even greener pastures as soon as their youngest is handed his diploma. You’ll be left with the bill.

Of course, if you’re attracting all these new families to town, they’re going to need places to live. Lately, we hear nothing but complaints about all the new housing development in town. Better get used to it if you want a new high school.

Then there’s the old reliable, “If we don’t build it now, it will only cost more later.”

No kidding. Everything always costs more a few years from now. I need a car, but the new Lamborghini I want is out of my price range. Should I go ahead and buy it anyway because it’s only going to cost more later?

At some point at the proceedings, Town Meeting attendees will get their turn at the microphone.

An endless parade of “stakeholders” will “lean in” to profess their support of the new high school plan. They will be well-prepped by the Central Committee with talking points, all designed to foster the impression that absolutely everyone is in favor of a new high school. Everyone, that is, except a few anti-progress, anti-education townies who are too stingy to fork over another $1,300 a year for the children.

Don’t be surprised if the new high school plan easily passes at Town Meeting after the “Yes” organizers pack it to the rafters with supporters. A truer measure of public sentiment may come at the Special Election that will follow if the new high school is approved at Town Meeting.

Remember what happened last time, when people were given the opportunity to vote by secret ballot on the Warrior logo?

Only this time, it’s about their wallets, not a school logo. And this time, the results will be binding.