There was a joint meeting of the school board and selectboard on September 18th. The purpose of the meeting was for the school board to present the Herrick Avenue project progression to the selectboard. Board Chair, Kumulia Long, gave a short presentation going over the process that the board has been through over the last three years in coming to the decision to build a new school. He discussed the three scenarios of renovation, renovation with addition and completely new build and the pros, cons and costs of each. When taking into account the education space, the impact to students during the build and the cost, the school board has decided that they want to build a new school instead of either of the other two scenarios.
After the presentation, a lively discussion took place between the two boards, Town Manager Don Turner, Superintendent Amy Rex and Director of Operations Matt Grasso. The biggest concern of the selectboard is the cost to the community in the form higher taxes. Don also suggested that the school district buy a new property instead of building on the current property citing mold issues at the site due to the water table. That frees up the possibility that the current building may be able to be repurposed as a recreation facility and other amenities to the community instead of being demolished as is currently being proposed.
The town treasurer, John Gifford who also serves as the school district’s treasurer, gave a presentation about how much the $175M price tag of a bond for building the school would cost individual taxpayers. Ultimately, with the current school budget calculations, a homeowner with an average price home in Milton of $350k would be paying roughly an additional $1,400 per year in property taxes for the life of the 30-year bond. This is only slightly lower than the total amount that is allocated for the town portion of property taxes. These are estimated numbers as the calculations for school budgets change slightly almost yearly as well as multiple other variables.