Wallingford must revote $900K school bond
By Erin Mansfield
Correspondent | March 20,2014
WALLINGFORD — Despite passing with 60 percent of the vote after a months-long campaign, the bond to renovate Wallingford Elementary School is not valid under state law and must be revoted.
Superintendent Dana Cole-Levesque thanked voters for passing the bond 287-190 on Town Meeting Day. But she said the advance warnings and meetings did not meet the legal standard to hold a bond vote.
The law requires that the town publish warnings in a local newspaper “once a week for three consecutive weeks on the same day of the week.” The town also must post warnings in five places for two weeks leading up to the vote.
The required warnings will appear in the Rutland Herald beginning March 31, Cole-Levesque said, followed by a meeting April 21 and the new vote to validate the $900,000 bond Tuesday, April 22.
“We are hopeful that voters will come out and support the bond vote again,” he said.
The bond in question would fund the majority of a $1.2 million facility renovation which includes roof replacement, solar-panel installation, school entrance renovation and an elevator.
The remaining funds would come from energy savings through using solar panels, sale of the Little Red Schoolhouse and various grants.
Principal Penny Lienhardt said in February the school is overdue for roof replacement and an elevator to meet compliance standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
School Board Chairman Ken Fredette said in a letter to the Herald that the board could no longer avoid renovating the school’s 62-year-old roof. The town’s energy committee supported the project on the grounds that energy efficiency would save the school money in the long run.
The 20-year bond will cost homeowners $26 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value, school officials said, but town leaders insist on coming up with as much grant money as possible.
“Our best guess is, it’s going to take most of that $900,000,” Cole-Levesque said. “We’re going to continue to turn over all stones.”
Town officials expect to complete the project this summer.