2019 Debt Exclusion and Operating Override Overview
The Arlington Select Board is committed to putting two Proposition 2 ½ ballot questions before the town on June 11, 2019. Yes votes will authorize property tax increases.
Vote YES to Build a New Arlington High School With Aid From the State
Arlington High School is at the heart of our town as a center of education and community life. However, the current facility has become an obstacle to teaching and learning. It does not support current instructional standards. Because of the building’s deficits, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges placed the school on warning for loss of accreditation. Classrooms are undersized, science labs are inadequate, and building systems, including heating and plumbing, are at the end of their expected service life. Additionally, Arlington’s high school population has increased 20% in the past ten years and the building is near capacity. Based on our current townwide enrollment in grades K-8, high school enrollment will increase another 23% by 2022. These numbers will continue to rise throughout the coming decade. Our current facility cannot accommodate our increasing high school population.
In recognition of these needs, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) invited Arlington to partner with the state to rebuild the high school. In 2016, residents voted to fund a feasibility study to explore solutions at this complex site. Since that vote, the Arlington High School Building Committee has been working with the MSBA and the community to design a school that will serve our students and town well into the future. A yes vote secures state funding for a substantial portion of the cost of a new high school, allows Arlington to pay for its share, and keeps the project on track for an estimated building completion date of 2024. Detailed information and FAQs are available on the Arlington High School Building Project website.
Vote YES to Replenish Our Stabilization Fund so We Can Maintain Critical Services
Because of a Massachusetts law passed in 1980, voters are required to approve property tax increases of greater than 2 ½ percent. Arlington has a record of responsible stewardship of taxpayers’ money, with per capita spending consistently below the state average. Arlington voters last approved an operating override in 2011. Town leaders promised to make the funds last for three years, and through careful management and negotiation have stretched them for eight. During this period, the town has provided residents with stable services, including public safety, schools, public works, libraries, and health and human services for youth and seniors.
Despite Arlington’s frugal practices, costs have risen more than our revenues. State aid fluctuates and is not enough to fill in the gaps. Arlington is not alone. Many other Massachusetts communities have structural deficits and must pass overrides periodically in order to maintain adequate services. In accordance with the town’s long-term financial plan, we are now drawing down our stabilization fund. By refilling the fund now, we ensure uninterrupted critical services for all residents.
How can I help?
Let us know you’re voting YES on both questions. This will allow volunteers to spend time reaching other voters instead of knocking on your door. Please also consider volunteering and donating. Arlington needs your help!
How can I stay informed?
Who is involved in this campaign?
Build Arlington’s Future is a volunteer-driven campaign. You can sign up to volunteer.