Massachusetts Voters Approve School Construction

GRANBY, Mass. — Voters approved a 7.7 percent tax increase on March 1 to pay the bonds to finance a $34 million school construction project in Granby.

Of 2,446 votes, 1,646 registered voters voted in favor of the tax increase, while 800 were against it, reported MassLive. Officially, voters approved a Proposition 2.5 debt exclusion, which allows the town to exceed the 2.5 percent annual tax levy cap to pay back loans for the life of the bonds.

The approval means major renovations will take place at East Meadow School and a new building will be erected to replace West Street School, located adjacent to East Meadow. The Massachusetts School Building Authority pledged $17,624,506 to fund the project, leaving the town to pay the remainder of the $34 million construction budget.

East Meadow School was constructed more than 40 years ago, and requires many upgrades to bring the building up to code, according to MassLive. Built in 1941, West Street Elementary faces similar deficiencies that are too expensive to renovate. The project will require closing West Street Elementary and consolidating kindergarten through grade 6 students in a completely refurbished East Meadow School. The new school would accommodate about 430 students in a 68,760-square-foot building.

"We look forward to delivering an efficient, sustainable and cost-effective facility that will maximize local and state taxpayer resources while providing a top-notch facility in which students can learn effectively," Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chair of the building authority, said when announcing the project.

The next phase of the project will focus on construction drawings and bids, according to the superintendent’s blog. The goal is to complete both the addition and renovation of the current East Meadow School by fall 2018.