The Marshall Plan: Fate of the Marshall Middle School Project in Hands of the Voters

September 17, 2013
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When the polls open at 7 a.m. today, residents will head to the polls to vote for Mayor, City Council, and School Committee.

Also, at the bottom of the September 17 primary ballot, is a ballot question that will shape the future of the Lynn Public Schools, and unlike many of the other choices voters will make on Tuesday, this one counts.

That’s because this is not a primary election for the school building question, it is the election for a new Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Lynn.

“This is important for the schools in Lynn,” said Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham. “I’ve been working  on this project since I became superintendent in 2009, so I’m thrilled to be at this stage.”

Latham noted that neither she nor her staff are actively involved in the campaign the get the question passed. The campaign is being handled by the Friends of the Marshall Middle School Committee. However, the outcome of the vote will effect how she and the school administration plan for educating Lynn’s youth in the future.

“We’re hoping for a positive outcome on the ballot question and we’re concerned,” she said.

Latham said that she is concerned that recent comments and questions being asked in the community have left voters with the impression that if the vote fails today (Tuesday, Sep. 17) that it will automatically come back for a vote at the November general election and that is not true.

“The only vote planned on this school is happening on Tuesday (today),” said Latham. “It’s not automatic to get it on the ballot again if it fails, so if people support the new school, they go to vote today.”

The ballot question asks voters to allow the city to raise up to $92 million for Lynn’s share of the cost of the new school, which has been proposed to be built on Brookline Street.

The city stands to benefit from an 80-percent reimbursement of school construction costs from the state. The $92 million ballot request would allow for Lynn’s 20-percent share of construction on reimbursable or allowable costs and for payment of all costs associated with the school that are not allowable by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

“The new school plan is really exciting, because it includes all of those things that kids love to have in their schools,” said Latham.

The proposed school would be large enough for 1,100 students and would be the largest middle school in the city on the day it opens it doors.

The polls will be open until 8 p.m. around the city tonight.

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