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Voters approve new $145 million Minuteman High School

Voters approve new $145 million Minuteman High School

 
 
By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts Globe Correspondent September 21, 2016

Residents in 16 communities voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to support a new high school for the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District.

According to an unofficial count provided by Minuteman High School officials, 70 percent of the residents were in favor of borrowing funds for a new $145 million high school in Lincoln.

“What we are doing is ensuring that the families of the district will have access to the highest quality career technical education for decades to come,’’ said Jeffrey Stulin of Needham, who serves as the chairman of the Minuteman School Committee.

The vote means a new high school could be open by the fall of 2020.

Residents in Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston voted Tuesday.

According to Minuteman officials, the vote was 12,146 in favor of the project; 5,319 against. The votes from each town were added together; a simple majority was needed.

A district-wide vote was needed after Minuteman failed to win unanimous approval for the project at Town Meeting votes in the spring. Belmont was the only town that rejected the proposal at Town Meeting.

Boxborough, Carlisle, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston voted earlier this year to withdraw from the Minuteman district as of July 1, 2017, but residents in those communities still voted Tuesday.

School officials said the 40-year-old building in Lexington is in need of major repairs and reconfiguration to support Minuteman’s new programs, desire to create an academy structure, and ability to properly educate and train the commonwealth’s future workforce.

Opponents said there were too many unanswered questions about the cost and size of the building.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has committed $44 million towards the project as long as the towns voted by Nov. 30 to support the local share. Stulin said Tuesday’s vote ensures that the project will move forward.

According to individual town results, residents in Belmont, Carlisle, Sudbury and Wayland all rejected the proposal. Carlisle, Sudbury, and Wayland have already voted to withdraw from the district so the vote has no impact on those towns.

However, by rejecting the funding Tuesday night, Belmont will now have an opportunity to leave the district. In Belmont, 901 voted yes; 2,327 voted no.

According to the district, any town in which the majority of voters rejects the borrowing can withdraw from the district by a two-thirds vote at a Town Meeting within 60 days of the district-wide vote.

Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com




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