Via Needham School Committee Member Heidi Black
By Progressive Needham member Artie Crocker
Minuteman Technical High School needs to be updated. It’s been that way for years. We can fix the school starting with a vote on Sept. 20th.
I greatly benefited from the options Needham High School made available to me in the 70s. These days kids that don’t fit into the “Box” of our current education model in society have the option of going to Minuteman Technical High School. It’s not right that the school building/facilities barely gets hand-me-downs when it comes to maintenance. This September 20th we have the option to fix this for our kids!
On September 20, a district-wide referendum will be held on the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School’s proposed construction of a new school at the District’s campus in Lexington and Lincoln, to be built in conjunction with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Watertown, Wayland, and Weston are members of the district, and all registered voters in these communities are eligible to vote. The referendum will be decided by majority of the total vote in all sixteen district towns.
Minuteman’s existing facility, built in the early 1970’s, has serious building systems and capital maintenance issues, does not meet current code and architectural standards, and cannot optimally support Minuteman’s vocational education program.
The estimated cost of the project, which is for a new school with a design enrollment of 628 students, is approximately $150 million, towards which the MSBA has committed $44 million. Under revised regulations applicable to MSBA projects, the District will be also be able to assess a capital charge to out-of-district tuition students. The MSBA project timeline requires the District to secure passage of this referendum to be eligible for State funding and for the project to move forward.
If the Capital Project is not approved, the District will face difficult challenges operating and maintaining its existing facility. The member communities will share those costs, which without MSBA and out-of-district contributions may be higher than the cost to build a new school.
Although the project cost is substantial, it will help put Minuteman, and vocational education in our region, on a sound path going forward.
In May of this year, 15 of the 16 towns voted to support bonding for this project. However, a negative vote by one of sixteen regional town meetings (Belmont) has required that a Minuteman district-wide referendum be held for the project to go forward.
Minuteman High School is the primary vocational education resource for residents and is an important option for students who either seek or will be better served by vocational education opportunities.
The vote will be held on Tuesday, September 20, under a specific statute applicable to regional vocational schools.
From the Boston Globe – The fate of a new school for the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School district will be decided by voters in 16 communities on Tuesday.
Residents in Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston will head to the polls between noon and 8 p.m. to vote on a plan to borrow funds for a new $145 million Minuteman High School.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority has committed $44 million toward the project as long as the towns vote by Nov. 30 to support the local share. Votes in all communities will be added together to determine the outcome.
Minuteman Superintendent Edward Bouquillon said the 40-year-old building in Lexington is in need of major repairs and reconfiguration to support Minuteman’s new programs, desire to create an academy structure, and ability to properly educate and train the Commonwealth’s future workforce.
The new structure calls for better integration of technical and academic curriculum with advanced placement and college level courses and dual enrollment, he said.
We’ve been a bit behind here for a little while — but we’ll be updating soon, with how to engage for the 2016 Elections and how to plug into local organizing and more.
Meanwhile, don’t forget, Needham, VOTE ON TUESDAY for Minuteman! 12-8PM at the Center at the Heights at 300 Hillside Avenue (Senior Center)
When going to the polls on Super Tuesday 2016 (Mar. 1), Needham voters will be selecting MORE than just the Presidential nominees for the major parties —
— we’ll also be selecting the members of the Needham Democratic Town Committee, and our representatives on the State Committee.
These are our neighbors who have been active in elections and in the Party, and thus were nominated as a “slate” by the current Dem Town Committee executive council.
There are 35 slots, and — surprise! — 35 candidates. These are YOUR representatives to the Party — get to know their names!
Review sample ballots here:
- PRECINCTS A-C, I-J Ballot
- PRECINCTS D-H Ballot
- the only differences in the ballot are the State Committee members
- More Needham voting info here
Vote EVERY time!
Manipulating bigotry to support an agenda, while insisting you didn’t mention race:
- “Inner City”
- “States’ Rights”
- “Forced Bussing”
- “Cut Taxes”
- “Law and Order”
- “Welfare,” “Food Stamps”
- “Shariah Law”
- “Illegal Alien”
Read more at The Root — here’s a sample: “Dog-whistle politics is partly about demonizing people of color, but it’s also about demonizing government in a way that helps the very rich, says López. So, when Ronald Regan said “cut taxes,” what he was communicating to the middle class was, “so your taxes won’t be wasted on minorities.”
A key Reagan operative admitted as much in an interview quoted in Lopez’s book, saying, ”
‘We want to cut taxes’ … is a whole lot more abstract than, ‘Nigger, nigger.’ ” It continues to be more abstract, and it continues to work.“
Tonight (11/2/2015), Town Meeting will be voting to approve funds to acquire the (current) Owens Poultry Farm property, as a new site for the Hillside School. The siting issue for Hillside has been a challenging one for the town. There have been several options on the table but each has its drawbacks; environmental, traffic, redistricting etc.
- Minimizes the need for redistricting children to other schools
- No environmental mitigation needed
- Least expensive of the options
- Surprise, windfall opportunity to expand the town’s severely limited property options, leaving other sites available for other purposes
- Beautiful site with deep history in our town
- The Superintendant’s Blog
- FAQs (pdf)
- Comprehensive resources linked from Hillside Elementary School Planning page
I also wanted to address a few claims that are being circulated in town via email and letters to Town Meeting members. While there is certainly room for people to disagree with Owens Farm as the best solution, there are many factually incorrect assertions making the rounds. The following assertions have been taken from an email that was forwarded to me, in opposition to Hillside.
Produced by our friends at Immigration Justice Task force and the Needham League of Women Voters! Watch this interesting and informative video: