Since Arlington began its application process to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) over five years ago, we have supported Arlington’s bid for funding for a new high school. Arlington is now taking its final step in the process, voting on a debt exclusion on June 11 to pay for the project. We want to make sure voters understand their choice.
Arlington has the chance to receive approximately $86 million from the MSBA to cover the cost of rebuilding the high school. The MSBA process is highly competitive. Each year close to 70 school districts apply for core funding that is used to pay for the actual physical work on a building. Last year only 12 schools received core funding, the lowest number ever. As the cost of construction rises in the Boston area, the number of schools that the MSBA can fund goes down.
Arlington was awarded core funding contingent on voters passing a debt exclusion, which will allow the town to finance the high school. If Arlington doesn’t pass a debt exclusion, then Arlington will lose the $86 million.
If a town does not pass a debt exclusion to fund a school, the town must reapply to the MSBA and start the process over from the beginning. It has taken Arlington five years to get where we are. Arlington would have to restart the process, and there is no guarantee that the MSBA will accept Arlington again. Most towns with a failed debt exclusion were either not accepted back into the MSBA process or had to wait years to be reaccepted.
Arlington should be proud of the excellent work done by the town and the Building Committee. Receiving MSBA funding is a highly selective process. Most towns do not get this far. We encourage all voters to vote “Yes” on June 11th in support of this essential project for the children of Arlington.