In Lunenburg, MA, the last televised selectmen meeting of the year took place. The meeting focused on the upcoming special town meeting and ballot to discuss the middle school/high school project. The speaker emphasized the opportunity the town has to replace old, inefficient, and costly buildings with a state-of-the-art facility. This project has been in progress since 2005 and has involved collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
Seizing the Opportunity
The speaker emphasized the significant opportunity the town has to bring $36 million in state tax money back to Lunenburg. The MSBA has determined that the plan to replace the buildings is the most fiscally sound solution. It is crucial for the town to vote to fund this plan by the deadline of March 20th, as there will not be another chance to revise the plan. A “no” vote will push the town further back in line for MSBA funding, potentially delaying the project for many more years. Additionally, a “no” vote means that the town will be stuck with the current facilities, which will require costly repairs and lead to a temporary fix.
The Benefits of the Proposed Plan
The proposed plan to merge the middle school and high school into one building offers numerous benefits. By combining the two schools, the town will save millions in construction and operational costs. The shared common areas will further contribute to these savings. Additionally, the plan meets the current and future needs of the town and its students.
One concern raised during the meeting was the cost of the project. The speaker acknowledged that the plan is not cheap but emphasized that it is the most fiscally sound option. Ignoring the MSBA funds and trying to make repairs as needed would risk the loss of accreditation and result in a temporary fix that would be more expensive in the long run.
Another concern raised was the projected operating budget deficits for the next five years. The speaker explained that these deficits are lower than in previous years and that funding this project would not add to them. In fact, not funding the project would lead to increased deficits as repairs are added back to the local Capital planning and state funding is lost. Balancing the budget in Lunenburg relies on increasing productivity, which can be achieved through improved facilities, tools, and equipment.
Calling for Support
The meeting concluded with an invitation to the town meeting on January 7th and the ballot on January 11th. The speaker urged the community to support the proposed plan, highlighting the long-term value and benefits it offers. They also encouraged residents with questions or concerns to reach out to the superintendent or the chair of the school building committee for clarification before making a decision.
The selectmen meeting in Lunenburg’s main focus was the upcoming town meeting and ballot regarding the middle school/high school project. The speaker emphasized the importance of seizing the opportunity to replace outdated facilities with a state-of-the-art building. They addressed concerns about cost and deficits, highlighting the long-term savings and benefits of the proposed plan. Ultimately, the hope is that the community will come together and support the project, ensuring a bright educational future for Lunenburg.