Voters passed a ballot question to authorize a debt exclusion to pay for $71 million in renovations and construction costs for schools on May 3.
By a 61 percent to 39 percent margin, Lexington residents voted to authorize the tax increase to pay off the borrowing for these projects. With about 26 percent of the registered voters turning out, the vote was 3,333 to 2,134.
The Board of Registrars reminds all resident citizens who will be 18 years or older on or before May 3, not currently registered to vote in Lexington, that 8 p.m. April 13 is the deadline to register to vote for the May 3 Special Election. The voter registration deadline is 20 days prior to all local, state and national elections. Application deadline for absentee ballot is noon May 2.
Selectmen endorsed a debt exclusion vote that would cover the entirety of the School Master Plan at their Wednesday night meeting.
Town Meeting members approved nearly $66 million for renovations and additions to Jonas Clarke and William Diamond middle school, sending the question to voters in what is expected to be May 3 debt exclusion election.
Town Meeting voted 152 to 2 to approve the spending, with four people abstaining, on Monday, March 21.
Town Meeting will decide whether to appropriate $62.2 million for construction projects at William Diamond and Jonas Clarke middle schools March 21, the first article to be considered.
During their meeting Feb. 1, selectmen discussed May 3 as a tentative date to ask voters to pay for more than $75 million of the renovation and expansion of the public schools outside of the limits of Proposition 2 1/2. If the debt exclusion is approved, the town would be able to increase the property tax levy beyond the state maximum until the debt on the project is paid.
The vote would include the $4.08 million appropriated at the March 2015 Town Meeting, $5.38 million from the Dec. 7 Town Meeting, $65.8 million to fund completion of projects at the Jonas Clarke and William Diamond middle schools and the purchase of the former Armenian Sisters Academy.
“We will hold that date and determine whether or not we’ll be calling a debt exclusion vote later,” said Selectman Joe Pato.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority voted to accept the Maria Hastings Elementary School into the eligibility period of the MSBA reimbursement process during a board meeting on Jan. 27.
Eight core projects, including Hastings Elementary School, were admitted into the eligibility category during the first board meeting of 2016.
The Lexington School Committee voted to renovate and expand both Jonas Clarke and William Diamond middle schools instead of renovating and expanding Diamond, so that all the growth in the student population went to that school.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority will consider the Maria Hastings Elementary School project for funding Jan. 27.
On Dec. 22, the MSBA reached out to Lexington Superintendent of Schools Mary Czajkowski, announcing Hastings is being considered. At a total cost of approximately $60 million, the new 30-classroom elementary school, which would replace the existing 21-classroom school, is the largest part of the School Master Plan.
Town Meeting voted Dec. 7 to appropriate money to complete the design process of the School Master Plan, and to fund an engineering study for a potential elementary school Pelham Road.
At the Dec. 7 special Town Meeting, School Committee members will request $1.95 million to complete design work on the William Diamond and Jonas Clarke middle schools, $520,000 to complete design of a new Maria Hastings Elementary School and almost $2.92 million to purchase up to six standard modular additions to the Bridge, Bowman, and Fiske elementary schools. The total request will be $5.39 million, and are part of the process intended to address overcrowding in Lexington Public Schools.
The Board of Selectmen decided to support School Committee’s request for an appropriation for construction and design money for the School Master Plan.
Selectmen agreed to support and recommend the request for additional money for the designs for renovation and reconstruction at seven of the district’s nine schools during a meeting on Nov. 23.
The Board of Selectmen along with members of the Appropriations, Capital Expenditures and School committees met for a budget summit to discuss the revised projected tax impact of a scaled-back School Master Plan. The new project plan showed a peak of an additional $912 on the average property tax bill, if all of the proposed school building projects are constructed and if new police and fire departments are approved.
Yes for Lexington | Lisa Farrell, Treasurer | 405 Waltham Street, PMB 124 | Lexington, MA 02421