On Feb. 5, the Board of Selectman (BOS) called for a special town meeting for Feb. 24 so that residents could learn about the need for roof replacements at the Warren Elementary School, the middle school, and Keefe Technical High School.
A special town election for all residents will be held on Tuesday, March 18, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Ashland High School gym. The issue affects all residents in that the average tax bill would increase by $42 the first year and decline slightly each of the next four years.
According to a flyer issued by Ashland Public Schools, “This project cannot be absorbed through the regular budget and would require a 20-year debt exclusion for the Ashland Schools and a 5-year debt exclusion for Keefe Tech, meaning the average tax bill would increase by $42 the first year and would slightly decline each of the next four years. Keefe Tech’s portion would be paid off in year 5 and then for the next 15 years the cost would be approximately $37, declining each year until the bond is paid off in year 20. The new roofs would use more durable materials and come with a 30-year warranty.”
The flyer also explained, “Ashland Public Schools has proactively submitted an application to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Accelerated Repair Program. We are fortunate our project was selected from among many. If Ashland voters approve this project, MSBA will reimburse the Town of Ashland 50.16% of the cost. If voters do not consent, we lose the opportunity to have more than half of this project funded by the State, and the Town of Ashland will have to pay for 100% of the project.
By law, to use the MSBA reimbursement we must secure funding by March 31, 2014, which requires a two-step process. First, in Special Town Meeting a two-thirds majority vote is needed by tax payers to move this project forward. Then a Special Town Election will be held in March to formally vote on a debt exclusion question.”