Additional State Funds for School Renovation will Save Taxpayers $3 Mill

June 13, 2014

 

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

An additional $3 million from the state will help offset the cost to renovate Salem High School, reducing the impact on residents.

Originally scheduled to receive $10.77 million to cover about 62 percent of the renovation costs to the Career and Technical Education Center, the district will now receive a 75-percent match from the state.

“We learned last week there was a successful vote of HB 1350,” Salem Superintendent Michael Delahanty said, adding a failed vote in Plymouth meant more money was available for Salem.

“As a regional school, other communities had to support the bond,” he said, noting Ashland opposed the project.  “We’re the only district that’s getting money right now.”

Prior to Plymouth rejecting a renovation, Whitefield voted down a proposed project.  Schools are only eligible for the funding every 23 years.

The money won’t mean a larger project, but a reduction to the tax impact.  Delahanty said originally the project would cost taxpayers about $64.8 million and now the cost will be just over $61 million.

“We cannot exceed the $74.7 million that the town has appropriated for the project,” Delahanty said.

But exactly how the additional funds will be used has not yet been determined.

Delahanty suggested using the $3 million to offset the amount needed in the third-year bond in 2017, saying the anticipated interest would be higher than the first two years.  He said reducing the third bond by that amount would lead to an additional $4.3 million in savings from interest.

The current plan calls for three bonds of about $21 million to be withdrawn from January 2015 through 2017.

Dover will be eligible to receive funding from the state for a CTE renovation in 2015, but awarding of those monies would not impact Salem.

Delahanty praised Senator Chuck Morse for his efforts in getting the bill passed.

“He [Morse] had to use some persuasion and some strong understanding of legislation,” Delahanty told school board members Tuesday.

Board members will determine this fall how to best distribute the additional funds.  Renovation of the building is projected to start in the summer of 2015.