Unity voters give reluctant OK to another $2.7 million for elementary school
The annual Unity School District Meeting at the Claremont Opera House Saturday drew 366 voters who decided, 276-90, to continue the project with more funds and under a new project manager.
"We're all here angry today, and we're disgusted, and we are faced with another bond vote," resident Joe Warner said.
Despite his disgust with the process, Warner encouraged his fellow voters to approve the bond.
Sarah Finney said voters should say no to spending more money on the project, arguing it would be cheaper in the long run.
In August 2010, voters approved a $4.7 million bond to build the new school for Unity children in kindergarten through Grade 8. The vote came at a special meeting after state officials ordered Unity Elementary School closed because of fire and building code violations.
Unity School Board member Prudence McCormack admitted the board had made mistakes.
In February, the Fire Marshal's Office granted Trumbull-Nelson permission to resume construction.
Some voters asked how they could trust the school board and Trumbull-Nelson this time around.
Trumbull-Nelson Executive Vice President Ronald A. Bauer said he guarantees the building will be open for students Sept. 1. He also said the $2.75 million is an estimate that takes into account there may be issues with the building the company hasn't detected yet. The school district officials will see every invoice, and any unused funds will go back to the school district, he said.
Unity's school tax rate is $18.01. School board members said at the meeting that if approved, the 2014-15 school tax rate would increase to $18.90. Without the bond, the school tax rate would increase to $25.10, they said.
Voter Adam Boardman said the state aid would cover most of the new bond.
"One of the first things we Unity residents did as a screw-up was we allowed the school board to make major decisions without us," he said.
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