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Election 2019: Tewksbury Voters Overwhelmingly Approve New Elementary School Debt Exclusion

Apr 08, 2019 10:05PM ● By Bill Gilman
Years of planning, months of informational meetings and multiple appearances before town boards, p
Pizza Mia

 aid dividends on Saturday for supporters of Tewksbury's new elementary school project.
Voters at the annual municipal election overwhelmingly approved a debt exclusion for construction of the new school, which will serve grades 2-4 and will replace the North Street and Trahan schools.
The final vote was 2,587 in favor and 1,386 opposed, a margin of 66 - 34 percent.
For School Committee member Dennis Francis, who chairs the Elementary School Building Committee, the results were exciting and gratifying.
"i think it's great. I think a lot of people did a lot of hard work from the Building Committee. But I want to give a special shout out to Molly Ginsburg and the Friends of the Elemtary School Project for all the work they did," said Francis. "This is just the beginning of the process. We will be continuing over the next month to have community meetings to inform the community about the project, as we move forward to the next big event, the Town Meeting on May 6."
Francis said the victory on Saturday was the latest in a series of votes by the community over the past two decades to upgrade educational facilities for Tewksbury students. Past votes, some of which came in the midst of economic recession, have paid for construction of the Wynn Middle School, Ryan Middle School and the new Tewksbury High School.
"This town has always come out to support education," he said.
Saturday marked a double victory for Anne Marie Stronach, who serves as vice chair of the Elementary School Building Committee. She was the top vote-getter in a three-way race to win re-election to the Board of Selectmen.
"I actually think I worked harder on the elementary school than I did on my own campaign, because I really believe in this project," said Stronach. "And I'm so happy the town has welcomed it because I think it will be really good for us."
The ballot question on the school did not have a dollar figure attached to the debt exclusion. That number will be added on the Town Meeting. The project has an estimated price tag of $98.5 million. Of that total, the Massachusetts School Building Authority has approved $31,190,956 in reimbursement, leaving Tewksbury to pick up the remaining estimated costs of $65.7 million. 

Tewksbury voters soundly defeated three non-binding referendum questions, which asked voters if they approved of the town allowing recreational marijuana cultivators, testing labs and manufacturers to operate locally. The three votes affirmed votes taken by Town Meeting voters in 2018.

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