A subdued and sparse School Building Committee voted on Monday night to recommend no further votes be taken on the proposed school project.
The $19 million renovation and addition project went down to defeat at a special town meeting on Saturday by a vote of 292-263. It was a record turnout of 555 that weighed on the largest public works project this town of less than 1,700 had ever considered.
The borrowing authorization required a two-thirds vote to pass, or 370 yes votes out of the 555 cast.
The result was a flip of September's special town meeting vote that saw the project fail to capture two-thirds of the ballots by one vote.
Town officials are floating the idea of a Proposition 2 1/2 override to stash away funds for capital projects that would include repairs to the aging elementary school.
Homeowners have been struggling with sticker shock over the controversial $19 million school project. While it's generally recognized the 50- to 40-year-old school building is in dire need of repair, the thought of shelling out $350,000 a year over the next 40 years has a lot of residents seeking a "Plan B."
The town's share of the reconstruction/addition of the 65-year-old school would be $7.7 million, or about $350,000 a year, for 40 years. That's $3.25 on the tax rate and a total payoff of nearly $15 million.
Town and school officials are preparing for the next round of voting on the $19 million school proposal.
School officials are hoping to get their reasoning for the renovation/addition out to the voters again. Town officials have set three information sessions leading up to vote focusing on the town's financial picture.
The School Building Committee wants to make clear the school requires major investment because of its condition and the consequences of another failed vote.
Town officials have set three more information sessions on the borrowing for the $19 million school project to be revoted on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The sessions will all begin at 6 p.m. and take place in the elementary school cafeteria/gym on Monday, Nov. 6; Tuesday, Nov. 7; and Wednesday, Nov. 15. Postcards with that information are being mailed to every household in town.
The Select Board on Wednesday night set the date for the special town meeting, which was prompted by a citizens' petition that garnered nearly 300 signatures after the first vote failed to reach two-thirds passage by one vote.
Supporters of the $19 million school project were accused of unethical conduct in garnering signatures for a second special town meeting to approve borrowing for the project.
Another resident vowed to circulate her own petition for a third vote should this second one pass.
The town is gearing up for a second special town meeting after more than 300 citizens signed a petition calling to revote the failed school project.
The $19 million addition and renovation project failed by a single vote — 144-287 — at the special town meeting on Sept. 27. The authorization of the borrowing, of which $11.3 million would be reimbursed by the state but still hit homeowners with a $3.25 increase in the tax rate, required a two-thirds vote.
An unprecedented special town meeting on the $19 million school project took a dramatic turn at the end when the vote was so close, town officials turned to legal experts for the solution.
The answer: the article failed by one — one — vote.
The division in town over the proposed $19 million Clarksburg School project could be summed by a couple of neighbors.
One worries about how the project would drain the town's taxpayers and limit its ability to address its aging infrastructure. The other sees the town's most desireable asset being revamped with state picking up more than half the cost.
I believe greatly in investing in infrastructure and in education particularly. As a father to two special education students I am especially sensitive to the importance of public schools being able to well serve their local populations.
Residents in this small town are facing a tough choice in the coming weeks: whether or not to support a $19 million school building project.
Whichever way the vote goes, it's going to have a significant impact on the town, its students and its citizens.
The Clarksburg School renovation and expansion is projected to add between $3.20 and $3.25 per $1,000 of valuation to the tax bill, but the town administrator said there are things that will mitigate that impact.
The School Building Committee met Tuesday to discuss the financing of the project and its outreach efforts ahead of a Sept. 27 special town meeting and planned Oct. 10 vote on a debt exclusion to pay for the project.
School officials are pushing for a vote on school construction project for September that, if successful, means a projected opening in fall 2019.
The timeline was explained on Wednesday during the first public information session on the proposed $17.5 million school construction project.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says Clarksburg School can continue to use its original well as long as its meet specifications during any renovation.
Officials have been unsure about the continued use of the well since an initial school survey done a decade ago.
The School Building Committee is leaning toward one of two new options developed in response to feedback at its last meeting, when the initial plans for a renovated Clarksburg School were proposed.
Proposals E and F pick up on the concerns raised over the size of the primary wing and the need for a gym. The committee appeared heavily in favor of Option E, which included a rebuilt and expanded primary wing, a new kitchen and cafe, and a 4,000 square-foot gym, smaller than the 5,000 square-foot
The School Building Committee got its first look at plans for a new or renovated school — and the cost gave members pause.
The initial project estimates range from $12 million to $24 million on the high side; most put the town's cost at about $8.75 million to $12 million.
Design proposals for the school renovation project will be unveiled this week.
Superintendent Jonathan Lev told the School Committee this past Thursday that he and Principal Tara Barnes were to meet with the project manager Friday and get a first look at some possible plans for the project.
The School Building Committee has officially begun the planning process with the Massachusetts School Building Authority and looks to go out to bid the summer of 2018.
Brian Laroche of owner's project manager Potomac Capital Advisors and architect Margo Jones told the committee Thursday they were recently on the phone with the MSBA setting up their timeline and submission dates and are aiming to have everything ready for a town meeting approval next fall.
Funds set aside for a feasibility study of Clarksburg School are coming up short.
The School Building Committee voted on Wednesday to kick a request for another $45,000 to the School Committee. The study is the first step in determining construction options for the 50-year-old school.
The School Building Committee has hired Jones Whitsett Architects Inc. to do the feasibility for a new or renovated school.
The committee's first choice easily passed muster with the Massachusetts School Building Authority at its last meeting.