Wondering about Minuteman HS financials & politics

A postcard came informing me of a district-wide ballot to fund a new Minuteman High School. The ballot was needed because one of the communities (Belmont) declined to approve bonding. Minuteman said: “On May 4, 2016, one of Minuteman’s 16 member town meetings (Belmont’s) voted to disapprove the bond, effectively vetoing the project.” Belmont’s stance was confirmed at a meeting on June 20th. Hence we all vote.

The new building is a $22.5M project, supposedly. Belmont’s assessment would be $1.2M, somewhere in the middle of the pack. The assessment would add a nickle per $100K to Belmontians’ property taxes, which on the low end. See http://minuteman.org/cms/lib8/MA01907667/Centricity/Domain/81/V%2018.1-10%20member%20Towns.pdf for the figures.

The vote is to be held on September 20th. While not well-informed enough to judge the project, I would be inclined to consider it a wise investment. Does anyone know of any organized opposition to building the facility or why Belmont Town Meeting declined the bond issue? Is it because Belmont is building a new high school itself? Are we broke? What does Will and others in this forum think about this project?

2 replies on “Wondering about Minuteman HS financials & politics”

  1. I’m a strong believer in vocational education, but there are a lot of good reasons to doubt this particular project. If I had to vote today, I’d vote no. I’m studying the issue though and may have more formal thoughts.

  2. There are problems with how member versus non-member towns are billed for use of and capital costs at Minuteman, and the rules for deciding things also make it difficult to fix things at Minuteman that we perceive are broken (and I’m pretty sure that some things *are* broken).

    So the vote was some combination of strategic vs protest; we want better rules for running and paying for Minuteman. (Keep this in mind next time you gripe about some protest snarling traffic: we, Belmont, are essentially playing chicken with a vocational school to see if we can force change — at least that is my perception).

    I am a little worried that we are facing a this-is-what-you-want/this-is-what-you-get situation here — we may claim that all we want is governance change (what we want), but that’s not one of the actual choices on the ballot (what we get).

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