Tonight’s long-awaited Special Town Meeting is the first half of a two-part vote to bring a much-need Middle School/High School project to North Reading.
The project has been planned for years, as our state legislators and school officials worked diligently to get North Reading to the front of the line for state funding. Now, it’s time for North Reading voters to do their part.
To pass the project, two votes are needed:
- Town Meeting approval, tonight: The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the NRHS auditorium; a quorum of 150 voters is necessary, and the project must pass by a two-thirds majority. Town Meeting sets the amount to be borrowed; the warrant article, as legally required by the MSBA, sets forth the full $107 million reduced by the 51.49% MSBA grant. Because the MSBA funds its share of the project up front, the town borrows only its $60 million share and pays interest on that amount only. Absentee ballots are not available for Town Meeting, but you can vote on Saturday even if you miss Town Meeting.
- Ballot approval on Saturday, March 24: The ballot, which requires a simple majority to pass, allows the town to exempt Proposition 2 ½ to borrow the amount set by Town Meeting on Monday. Polls are open at St. Theresa’s from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Absentee voting is available for the ballot.
The MSBA has approved only this plan for state funding. There are no alternatives. Failure at either Town Meeting or the ballot vote sends North Reading to the back of the line for years of waiting.
In the past, when North Reading has waited for better opportunities, the price has only risen and the need has only become more urgent. Now is the time to get two schools for half price. It’s our one chance. Let’s grab it.