The Milford School District announced at an infrequently attended Education Council meeting on Monday that it would call for a referendum on the issue of raising property taxes to fund the revitalization and expansion of a school property historical.
If approved, the school district intends to revitalize the currently vacant Milford High School building on Lakeview Avenue.
It was not immediately clear what effect a successful referendum would have on a homeowner’s tax bills.
The site has been vacant for nearly six years after being closed for health and safety reasons.
Plans call for a renovation of the historic part of the building, which was constructed in 1929.
The most recent additions would be demolished, leaving room for new construction better suited to a 21st century learning environment.
The renovated building would house the District 5 and 6 students who currently attend Milford Central Academy.
Currently, Milford Central Academy welcomes students in grades 5-8, but shares a campus with Milford High School.
Overcrowding has become a problem at both schools, according to Milford School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Dickerson.
“If we are able to have a 5/6 primary school in the future, Milford Central Academy would only accommodate grades 7 and 8, relieving overcrowding at this school. We could also use Milford Central Academy to help reduce overcrowding in our high school as the schools share a campus and a hallway, ”Dickerson said.
In 2019, a committee made up of community members, parents, former educators, teachers and board members held public hearings to determine the fate of the property.
The public has overwhelmingly demanded that the property be used for educational purposes.
With the approval of the Board of Education, the school district applied for a Certificate of Necessity to build a grade 5 and 6 school with 1,000 students.
The Department of Education issued the district with a certificate of necessity in November 2020, but the school board chose to postpone the referendum request in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The estimated cost of the project is $ 57,270,453, with the state contributing $ 42,380,185 and the district paying the remaining $ 14,890,318. Each year the project is delayed could add 5% to the cost.
In a presentation presented by council, the district highlighted the “community aspects” of the proposed project. Depending on the presentation, if approved, the project:
- Use and revitalize existing resources and properties in the district
- Provide the ability to reassess current facilities and research efficiency and better use of space at district level
- create an open recreational space, a large recreational gymnasium and an auditorium
- Provide a classroom space in the center of the city for education and the workforce development partnerships
- Ensure that the historic Milford 11 plaque remains on the school site
The board of directors voted to hold the referendum on Wednesday, October 27.
Dickerson said that by holding the referendum in the fall, the district would have “more time to present the project to the community and answer any questions the community might have.”
When asked if the amount proposed for the project would be sufficient given the near universal increase in material costs, District Finance Director Dr Sara Croce explained that there is a process in which the district could request additional funds from the state to cover the differences. related to construction costs.
The council unanimously approved a motion to go ahead with the referendum.