Burlington voters have spoken and have approved moving forward with construction of a new high school and technical center. Burlingtonians overwhelmingly approved the $165,000,000 bond measure, which passed with more than 75% of the votes.
“On behalf of Burlington School District, our current and future students, and our staff, thank you Burlington voters for this show of support,” said BSD Superintendent Tom Flanagan. “Today’s vote gives us great confidence in the future and a clear direction forward for our students, staff, and community. It is clear that you have heard the need and are ready to answer the call. As we move forward, you have our word that we will work hard to keep the impact of this project down as much as possible while delivering a beautiful building that supports community connection and deeper learning for all. You have held up your end of the bargain and we will hold up ours as well!”
“On behalf of the entire Board of School Commissioners, I want to extend our sincerest heartfelt gratitude to the voters in Burlington,” said BSD Board Chair Clare Wool. “Like you, we are Burlington taxpayers who feel the impact of this investment, but without a high school and tech center, our community would lose tremendous value now and in the future. To keep Burlington a livable city for everyone, not just for families with children, we now need our state and federal elected officials to allocate the $32m that has been earmarked for PCB contamination. We are the only school that has been shut down by the State health department and we need the State’s help. This is not political, Burlington cannot be forced to shoulder this contamination expense alone.”
Flanagan noted that the positive vote clears the way for work to begin in earnest. The District plans to publish an RFQ on Wednesday asking for qualified subcontractors to begin working on the project and plans to move forward with plans to begin demolition by January.
BSD will also continue to push for external funding to support the clean-up of toxic chemicals (like PCBs) and the construction of the new facility. Flanagan noted that he empathizes with those who voted against the bond and hopes those residents will help the District to identify those alternative funding sources.
“Through my time connecting with voters and hearing feedback, I know that for many, the bond was not an issue of whether or not we need a high school, but whether or not our community can afford it. As we move forward seeking additional funding opportunities, we are going to need help from all of Burlington’s voters to keep advocating for funding. We are committed to reducing the impact of this project on taxpayers as much as possible, but we cannot do that work alone,” said Superintendent Flanagan. “We are going to need residents to help us pursue local, state, and federal funding. We are going to need donations and help putting creative funding sources in place. I hope this is work we can unite around so that the opening of this school is truly a celebration for our entire community.”