Election Warrant Finalized for Minuteman
LEXINGTON – Officers of the Minuteman School Committee have finalized the warrant for a September 20 district-wide election that will decide on bonding for a new Minuteman High School. On August 1, the officers approved an election warrant that had been prepared by the Minuteman School Administration in consultation with town clerks and boards of selectmen in the district’s 16 member towns.
The warrant calls for single polling locations in 14 of the 16 towns and multiple locations in Arlington and Belmont. To keep down election expenses, Minuteman had asked the towns to designate just one polling place. But Arlington and Belmont both asked the district to allow them to utilize all of their regular polling places and the School Committee officers approved their requests. According to the warrant, Arlington will use its customary ten polling locations; Belmont will use its customary seven polling locations.
The warrant now must be signed by a majority of the Minuteman School Committee and posted in the 16 member towns.
Last week, Minuteman officials met with town clerks from member towns, reviewing the mechanics of the election, answering questions, and outlining how Minuteman would handle reimbursement of costs to the towns. Since the election is being called by Minuteman, the district will pay the reasonable costs related to it.
The special election, to be held Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 12 noon to 8 p.m., was called by the Minuteman School Committee to determine whether District voters support or oppose bonding for a new school. The district-wide aggregate count of “yes” and “no “votes will determine the result, with the majority prevailing.
State law allows regional vocational school districts to secure local bonding approval either through their local Town Meetings or by a district-wide referendum. Minuteman initially tried the Town Meeting route but was unable to secure approval from one town. Belmont Town Meeting voted to reject bonding on May 4. On June 27, the School Committee voted to put the question directly to the district’s voters pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 16(n).
The project cost is $144.9 million. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the state agency that oversees school building projects, has approved a $44 million grant to help offset the cost to local taxpayers. In addition, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) approved a change in state regulations to enable Minuteman to charge a capital fee to non-member communities that send students to Minuteman.
Minuteman started working on the MSBA Feasibility Study in 2009.
In November of 2012, the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) placed Minuteman’s accreditation on “Warning” status due to the condition of its building.