By: Shannon Hegy
LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB) — The lines started early. Around 5:30 Tuesday night all ages filed into the high school as voters prepared to make one of the biggest decisions in the town of Longmeadow’s history.
A new high school, to replace the current one which was built in the 1950s, would cost $78 million. The state would fund $34 million while the residents would have to foot the rest.
Tuesday’s vote was whether or not to include a proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion override on the June 8 ballot, a tax increase for home and business owners to pay for the build.
“Now is the time,” said Longmeadow high school senior, Sawyer Hicks. “The state has put us on probation before for this structure. We can’t keep throwing band aids on it.”
“It’s difficult for a lot of us to look away from a $34 million gift,” said Gerry Nolet, “but on the other hand, what we’re left with is $40 million of mortgage to the town of Longmeadow for 25 years. That’s not an easy look away either.”
Over 2,000 people filled the school cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, and business and technological center. An audio system allowed each speaker in each room to be heard by all.
It wasn’t until three and a half hours after the school doors first opened that a decision was finally reached.
2,132 people voted for the question to be added to the ballot, while 211 voted opposed.