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North Reading School Building Project Passed at Special Town Meeting

The school building project passed with a two-thirds majority at Special Town Meeting Monday night.

The North Reading high school/middle school building project passed at Special Town Meeting with a two-thirds majority vote. The Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and School Committee unanimously recommended the project. 

The turnout at Special Town Meeting Monday was enough to fill the auditorium, gym and cafeteria at the . Residents started lining up before 7 p.m. and continued to register until 7:45 p.m. 

The 7 p.m. start time was delayed until 8 p.m. due to the turnout. Still, the meeting was delayed again due to a dispute over whether to allow the Secondary Schools Building Committee (SSBC) to give a 40-minute presentation. After a count, the presentation was allowed -- 697 residents voted for it, 177 were opposed.

Either way, school officials were pleased with how many residents attended the meeting.

“It’s great to see such a large turnout,” said School Committee Chairman Gerry Venezia.

Superintendent Kathy Willis spoke of the importance of technology in the new schools.

“Without it, our schools are becoming museums of the past,” said Willis. “The future is here and there is no turning back,” she continued. 

If the project passes at the Saturday, the total project cost will be $107.7 million. The MSBA will reimburse 51.49 percent of eligible costs. The new high school is projected to open in 2014, and the middle school in 2015. The cost would be bonded for 25 years. The town would bond $50 million at 4 percent starting this year.

"The tax rate increase will be 10.75 percent. The average home value of $450,100 will see an increase of $700," said SSBC member Janene Imbriano.

Need to learn more about the project? Here is a list of articles written about the school building project.

Here are some 

Bill March 20, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Great! A step forward? What percentage of the vote on Saturday is needed to pass this? Good job to the committee on getting this passed!
Jeff Witts March 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Only a simple majority is needed at the polls for the to pass.
John Intorcio March 21, 2012 at 01:56 AM
The town wonders why attendance at these meetings is so low? Last night almost 900 people, all of whom knew exactly where they stood before walking in the door, got to sit for an extra hour before having to endure a 40 minute presentation just so they could vote.

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