Bay Path Wants Auburn Residents To Vote 'Yes'

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The special election for the Bay Path addition/ renovation project is scheduled for Oct. 4 from noon to 8 p.m. at Auburn High School. Photo Credit: Bay Path

AUBURN, Mass. – Representatives from the Bay Path school are on a full-court press to promote the addition/renovation building project, making their presence felt in Auburn on Monday night.

Supporters of the project attended Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting in Auburn, which is one of 10 area towns to vote in a special election on Thursday, Oct. 4, to decide whether the Southern Worcester County Regional Vocational School District can borrow $73 million for renovations and additions at Bay Path Vocational Technical High School.  

The special election for the Charlton school project is scheduled from noon to 8 p.m. at Auburn High School. The other towns voting are Charlton, Dudley, North Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Southbridge, Spencer and Webster.

At Monday’s selectmen meeting, supporters of the project passed out pamphlets, which state that the high school serves 1,074 students in a facility designed to house 850.

“Severe overcrowding has resulted in the creation of additional classroom space within vocational shops,” the pamphlet states. “The building envelope is deteriorated with water and air infiltration, and the roof is in need of replacement.

“Bay Path has been cited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for inadequate academic and vocational spaces for students, and if conditions remain the same, the school may face a loss of accreditation,” according to the pamphlet.

The project would provide a 50,000-square-foot addition while replacing a 45-year-old roof, the heating and ventilation system, windows and much more.  

The total cost is projected at $73.8 million, with a $46.5 million reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Association (MSBA).

Auburn’s share would be $3,589,631. The estimated tax impact on the average Auburn home valued at $222,492 is $8.49 for fiscal year 2014, with a maximum annual cost of $26.09.

The promotional pamphlet states that adding/repairing Bay Path will have to happen in the next 5 to 20 years, regardless of the Oct. 4 voting outcome. Supporters say that if the district doesn’t approve the project, it will lose the financial assistance from the MSBA, which means the district towns would be 100 percent responsible for the cost.

Opponents don't think the renovations and additions are necessary, and they don’t want to pay millions of dollars in taxes.  

The measure doesn’t have to pass in every town to move forward; it needs a majority vote across the 10 towns.

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Comments (3)

AuburnGuy24:

VOTE NO.... the increase in taxes is going to continue to result in more "For Sale" signs popping up on front lawns. The sad part is the lack of publication in town about this vote, which leads me to believe that it will be lower than a primary turnout to vote and the parents of those attending baypath will rock the vote to Yes.
Enough is enough!

junebugger81:

Enough already.....what part of NO don't these people understand....
keep holding elections(they can afford this bill evidently) until it passes...our votes are a mere formality...they don't mean a thing....no wonder people become apathetic and don't show for elections.

Town Resident:

Once again it appears that poor planning will result in residents having to foot the bill for another school reno or addition. I'm not surprised that a roof replacement is needed after 45 years. I AM shocked that repair/maintenance/replacement was not part of a long term strategic plan for the school. Why is it that residents are only asked for money when there is a perceived impending disaster (i.e. loss of accreditation). Why isn't census data and school enrollment data used to predict the number of students in a district or region years in advance of the actual need? This lack of planning has to stop somewhere and I'm drawing the line now. I will definitely be voting "NO" on this project and only wish I had more control over the Auburn Middle School proposal.

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