TYNGSBORO — Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a ballot highlighted by the proposed new Tyngsboro Middle School, but which will also elect members to various town boards.
A question at the bottom of the ballot will decide whether the town builds a new middle school. On May 3, voters at Town Meeting overwhelmingly supported a new school 513-87.
Despite that landslide vote, a second approval is needed. This one must come from voters at the town election. Here, only a simple majority is needed to pass.
A simple majority would seem to be easier to reach than the two-thirds required at Town Meeting.
However, social media has been busy in the days leading up to the election with some residents raising questions about building a new school versus rehabbing the existing one.
The questions are not new. They have been asked and answered at more than 40 public hearings, four community forums and two walkthroughs of the existing school.
The proposed new $82.5 million Tyngsboro Middle School has been in the works since 2011. After years of effort to be invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s process, the school district received that invitation two years ago.
If the debt exclusion for the new middle school receives the go-ahead on Tuesday night, the town will receive about $28 million in reimbursement from the state.
The town’s School Building Committee went to work with a project management team and an architectural firm, as required by the MSBA, to determine “the most cost effective, educationally beneficial long-term solution is to build a new school,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Flanagan said.
Were it not for the question of a new school, the election this year would probably draw minimal voter interest.
Andrew “Mike” Moran will join the Board of Selectmen for a three-year term, replacing long-term incumbent Rick Reault, who did not seek re-election. No one else filed papers to seek that office.
Three candidates are running for two seats on the Finance Committee: current Chairman Billy Crawford, Lawrence Clawson Jr. and Edward Smith.
Incumbent Christopher Mellen pulled papers to run, obtained the signatures and took them to Town Hall. But he was caught in conflicting messaging about the deadline to return the papers, so he turned his papers in after that deadline, sources say.
Crawford was the one voice on the Tri-Board (Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and School Committee) to oppose building a new middle school. The vote was 13-1.
Four candidates are running for two seats on the School Committee: Rebecca Stanton, incumbent and chairman of committee; Danielle Athanas, Teresa Crecsek-Nadeau, and Stacey Lee Toupin.
The polls are open Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm. For information about where to vote, visit bit.ly/3Pj8OPn.