Town officials are moving ahead with various plans to deal with growing student enrollments. The Arlington Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to place debt exclusion questions before voters on June 14. The questions ask residents to approve higher property taxes to address re-building the high school, adding on to Thompson Elementary School and making room for a growing middle school population, as well as supporting unspecified funds for re-building Minuteman High School. Meanwhile the School Enrollment Task Force voted seven to two in favor of re-opening and remodeling the Gibbs School instead of adding on to the Ottoson Middle School. Here are highlights from the meetings leading up to the decisions.
Belmont Town Meeting voted on May 4 to reject funding a rebuild of the Minuteman High School. This makes Arlington’s own decision whether to approve a debt exclusion for the Minuteman project effectively a life-and-death decision for the rebuild. According to Selectman Dan Dunn, who functions as Arlington’s liaison within the Minuteman Regional District, a vote on June 14th to approve the debt exclusion will keep the project alive, although it won’t guarantee its ultimate survival. A no vote on the debt exclusion, however, will for all intents and purposes kill the Minuteman rebuild. Town Meeting will also take up the issue at its May 9th session.