by Janet Stoica
REGION – Webster and Dudley voted yes for the Bay Path Regional Vocational School at Thursday’s special district wide election; Oxford voted against the $73.8 million expansion/renovation project, but the yes votes prevailed.
Overall, votes tallied were 5,303 for the renovation (58%) and 3,836 against (42%) in the 10-town district.
In a statement released to the local media after the vote, John Lafleche, Bay Path’s superintendent-director, said, “The Bay Path community is grateful to all residents of the 10-town district who came out and voted in today’s special election. We are excited that a majority of those who voted supported our addition/renovation project. The School Committee, School Building Committee, and administration of the school will begin working toward the selection of a Construction Manager at Risk immediately so that construction can begin during 2013.
“Once completed, our project will insure that we have state-of-the-art vocational and academic classrooms and shops in a building large enough to educate our 1,100 students. There is no doubt that the approved project is the most educationally sound and fiscally responsible way to provide vocational education in Southern Worcester County for the next 50 years. Bay Path appreciates the strong support of its communities’ leaders, especially the Boards of Selectmen and Town Councils. In addition, we extend a special thank you to the Town Clerks and their staffs for running a very professional election.”
Steven Maher of Auburn, who headed up a Vote No to $73M committee, issued a statement, saying, “We congratulate the victors and will do nothing to further oppose this project. The voters have spoken and we accept their decision.”
The Massachusetts School Building Authority will reimburse towns for 63% of the $73.8 million project, leaving the towns to contribute $27.3 million proportionally to their student population.
Individual Town vote counts were as follows: Auburn-Yes 684, No 508; Charlton-Yes 1,015, No 311; Dudley-Yes 542, No 470; North Brookfield-Yes 170, No 515; Oxford-Yes 534, No 538; Paxton-Yes 238, No 239; Rutland-Yes 310, No 285; Southbridge-Yes 957, No 388; Spencer-Yes 488, No 340; and Webster-Yes 395, No 242.