What is Yes For Brookline?
Yes For Brookline is a campaign asking voters to approve a debt exclusion (more commonly referred to as an “override”) to fund two public school projects. The campaign is led by volunteer elected officials from our Select Board and School Committee, and includes broad citizen participation.
Why do we need two school building projects now?
Brookline needs much more space for its public school students.
Based on 2006 enrollment, the K-8 school population has increased by almost 41 percent, or about 1,600 students. Our schools are using every inch they have. We have converted closets, locker rooms, hallways and even bathrooms into work and learning areas. Many students, teachers and administrators are in shared, inappropriate, and substandard spaces, and our libraries, cafeterias and gyms are overtaxed.
Our elementary school principals have cobbled together solutions with rented space and modular classrooms, but this band-aid approach isn’t enough; we simply need to build more real capacity and a 9th elementary school.
You can read more about the space crunch and why can’t we continue to ‘expand in place’ in Superintendent Andrew Bott’s report on school overcrowding.
What is the building plan that we’re voting on?
This is a multi-site plan to address conditions across Brookline: right now we are voting to fund a new school at Baldwin (27 new classrooms) and a rebuilt/expanded Driscoll (8 new classrooms). Later, Pierce will be expanded, with financial assistance from the State. This plan is like a three-legged stool, and we will need all three projects to solve the town-wide space shortage.
You can see much more about the projects here
How much will the projects cost?
Baldwin is estimated at $82.9M and Driscoll is estimated at $108.8M. These numbers may look like a lot, but a new school is the fastest and least expensive way to get the capacity we need. There is no more economically efficient solution for educating large numbers of children than building a new school. And Brookline’s schools are our brand and our community’s backbone.
What is a debt exclusion, and why do we need to vote on it?
In 1980, Proposition 2-1/2 became Massachusetts law. “Prop 2-1/2” limits – to 2.5 percent – the amount by which municipalities may increase local property taxes annually. More information from the Commonwealth is here.
Since the 2.5 percent limit was imposed, towns often need to raise extra revenue to service loan debt when they borrow money for public projects; thus they ask voters to approve a temporary levy for the duration of the loan. That is what Brookline is asking for now.
On May 7th we will go to the polls to answer a single ballot question: do we approve a temporary tax increase above 2.5 percent to help fund two school building projects?
Yes for Brookline urges voters to say YES!