For Immediate Release – 1/16/2020
Statement from Mayor Charles C. Kokoros
Braintree, MA – Throughout my Mayoral campaign, I had the privilege of hearing from many of our residents about their hopes and goals for our Town’s future. Like me, you believe that Braintree is a caring and vibrant community to work, live and raise a family. I shared my vision of the Town’s need for a master plan and heard about your desire to continue our Town’s efforts to address the significant school and town-wide facilities needs and to do so comprehensively. I share that desire and, as promised, I have been visiting every facility in our Town, including all of our schools, from the boiler room to the rooftop since taking office. The first-hand observations I have made during these visits have allowed me to understand the scope of our challenges better and have served to confirm our need to take an all-inclusive view of the Town’s capital needs. It is even more clear to me now that we must formulate a comprehensive plan to ensure our future success.
Our school system requires our attention and I have determined that the way to meet the current capital needs is with a debt exclusion. Since beginning the transition into office I have been conducting an in depth review of our finances and have concluded that we cannot fund a new South Middle School within the existing operating budget. In keeping with my commitment to transparency, funding through a debt exclusion is necessary to fund not only South middle School, but also to address other town-wide capital needs. My plan will speak to several issues identified within our school system while also ensuring that other departmental capital needs are met. Through the revenue provided through a debt exclusion we can fund a new South Middle School; new roofs for our Elementary Schools and Monatiquot Kindergarten; security enhancements throughout the district, including the installation of camera systems and secure entry points; and a feasibility study for the future redevelopment of Braintree High School. For the new South Middle School, our approval of funding will secure us over $30 million in state funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and continue our partnership to further improve our schools.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, I will ask the Town Council to take the first step to ensuring that these capital needs are met. At that meeting, I will be asking the Council to begin their consideration of holding a special election for a debt exclusion on March 28, 2020, to fund these important projects. This is the first time we as a community have sought to address the needs of our school system as a whole and I am confident that this is the best way to continue providing our children with a quality education well into the future and continue to make a better Braintree together.