The School Building Committee has a mission this winter: plow through two years’ worth of ideas and plans and narrow it down into two to three options, then narrow it down further to one option to present first to the School Committee and then to the Town Council.
The panel met Tuesday for the first time since September to review the overall timeline, everything from when the state needs info and when the voters need to decide a bond referendum to when the district needs to hire a construction manager and when construction needs to be completed.
Find that timeline below:
The first hard deadline is a submission to the state Dept. of Education (RIDE) by September. But there are a lot of internal deadlines before then to be able to hit that September deadline in order to make that submission possible. The School Building Committee is advisory only, so whatever it recommends must be approved by the School Committee. After that, the Town Council will weigh in. That’s because the Town Council is the only body that can put a bond referendum on the ballot and no matter what the final plan, any school construction is going to need bond money.
The timeline is fixed because the state is offering extra reimbursement money for school construction projects right now. For approved projects the state typically offers 35 percent reimbursement but right now reimbursements can exceed 50 percent depending on the project. Which means a lot (more than half) if you are looking to spend $100 million.
According to the timeline, the clock will start ticking once the district’s “stage 2” application is submitted in September. A referendum on the proposal could be on the ballot as early as fall 2023 and would have to be on the ballot by spring 2024. Construction would need to be completed within five years of the stage 2 approval – which puts that date around fall 2028.
The building committee spent a good amount of time Tuesday on meeting times – how to best get work done but also include the public. The hope was to get the next couple of meetings scheduled quickly, perhaps Jan. 31 and Feb. 14, but no dates were confirmed.