A “No” vote on June 11 would result in less school for more money.

Without a successful debt exclusion for AHS, the state will withdraw their commitment to pay an estimated $86 million. Because of enrollment and pressing facility needs, we would have to address the needs of the high school even if the debt exclusion fails on June 11. 

Arlington would have to reapply to enter back into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s grant program. Prior approval wouldn’t be considered as part of the application — we’d be starting from scratch. Other districts that have turned down MSBA funding have been rejected, and the funding process becomes more competitive each year. MSBA receives about 70 applications for core funding annually and invites only 12-15 districts into the program per year. Because of high construction costs in the area, fewer schools are selected for core funding each year. Last year, 12 were chosen — the smallest group yet. Arlington was fortunate to be selected in 2016. If this vote failed and we reapplied, we’d be rolling the dice in a game with worsening odds.

In an absolute best-case scenario, if Arlington were invited to move forward, we would repeat the process we have done so far to design and build the school. Construction costs escalate about 4% per year, with no signs of abating, so the cost of the project grows at a rate that outpaces inflation. 

Because of the uncertainties of readmission to the grant program and our urgent needs, the AHS Building Committee has done a thorough analysis of the cost of creating a working high school without MSBA funding. See https://ahsbuilding.org/blog/the-consequences-of-a-no-vote/.

“No” Vote Renovation/Addition New High School
Estimated cost to Arlington taxpayers $259 million $205 million
Estimated contribution from MSBA $0 $86 million
Annual tax impact on single family home $1,014 $802

The Building Committee’s conclusion: The result of a “no” vote would be a school that would “fall short in facilitating the educational program, have an inferior layout and facilities, while taking much longer to build and costing taxpayers significantly more than the proposed new school.”

If we say YES on June 11th, we can partner with the state to build a school that will actually work for our students and our town.