Every school building in our district is in need of repairs and health/safety improvements.

This year, the School Committee feels the timing is advantageous to fund those repairs with a Capital Debt Exclusion (CDE).

A Capital Debt Exclusion is not an operational override and, thanks to historically low interest rates, will have minimal impact on our tax bills.

But just what is a Capital Debt Exclusion and why do we need it now? Here’s the rundown:

  • What is a Capital Debt Exclusion?

    Capital debt exclusion is when the town takes out a bond to fund a project, like our towns did for the Wenham Town Hall and the Hamilton Public Safety building. The School Committee is proposing a 10-year bond which would be used to purchase various pieces of capital equipment and to pay for repairs and improvements to the school buildings.

  • Is a debt exclusion different from an operational override?

    Yes. The towns will pay debt service for a period of ten years only.  A capital debt exclusion does not result in a permanent tax increase.

  • What effect will the debt exclusion have on my taxes?

    There is a minimal effect on property taxes.  Based on median assessed home values, the tax impact is estimated at $30.37 per year in Hamilton and $31.46 per year in Wenham for 10 years.

The School District is in the process of refinancing the debt on the Miles River Middle School at a lower interest rate. Depending on how the towns choose to use the savings achieved from the debt refinancing, any cost savings could offset the tax impact of the proposed Capital Debt Exclusion.

  • Why now?

    With interest rates at an all time-low, and with lower construction costs than in recent years, now is the ideal time to fund these projects. The issues being funded thru the debt exclusion are not going away and will only get more expensive to repair if we wait.

  • What will the District use the money for?

    The list of the items to be addressed by the debt exclusion can be found at the district website. (click to view)

  • Can we be sure the funds will go for repairs and not be shifted to other uses?

    Yes. By law the funds can only be used for the purposes stated in the warrant article.

  • Why do we need to do these repairs?

    To address health and safety issues and NEASC compliance.

  • Will these repairs keep the High School from being placed probation status by the accreditation committee (NEASC)?

    Most likely.

  • What do I need to do to make these repairs happen?

    Today, make arrangements for child care.  It is important that all registered voters in your household attend town meeting.  Since Hamilton and Wenham town meetings are on different days, consider asking a friend in your neighboring town for help. Then, attend Town Meeting and vote “Yes” for the Capital Debt Exclusion.

The CDE needs a 2/3 vote at both town meetings in order to make it onto the ballot, so every single vote is critical.

Wenham Town Meeting: Saturday, May 2 at 1:00 at Buker. The Capital Debt Exclusion is Article 8.

Hamilton Town Meeting: Monday, May 4 and Tuesday May 5 at 7:30 at the High School.  The Capital Debt Exclusion is Article 11.

There is a strong chance the CDE won’t go to a vote in Hamilton until the second night. Please plan for all voters in your household to attend both nights.

Finally, vote “Yes” for the Capital Debt Exclusion at the ballot box on May 14.

These Are Our Schools. Let’s Take Care of Our Investment!

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