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EASTON

Easton approves tax increase to build new elementary school

Easton residents overwhelmingly agreed Tuesday to raise their property taxes to pay for construction of a new elementary school.

The vote on the Nov. 5 ballot question was 3,298 in favor of overriding debt limits, and 839 against.

Town Meeting had voted a week earlier, 1,029 to 48, to borrow the money for the $94.8 million project, but townwide approval also was required for it to move forward.

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Work on the Easton Early Elementary School is expected to start late next year, with completion scheduled for the 2022 school year, officials said.

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The new school will house all of Easton’s students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Those students currently go to three different schools, which would be torn down or closed.

“This is an exciting time for families in Easton,” Superintendent Lisha Cabral said in a thank-you note to the community.

“By consolidating these schools into one state-of-the-art facility, we will continue to offer the high level of education you have come to expect in facilities that will match that quality,” she wrote.

The Select Board has proposed softening the financial impact of the project by creating a special tax relief fund for elderly and disabled residents. That measure will come before a Nov. 12 Special Town Meeting.

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The town’s share of the new school construction is estimated at $58.6 million, with the state picking up the rest. The impact on homeowners will vary over the 30-year life of the loan, topping out at an extra $433 annually for the average homeowner.

Johanna Seltz can be reached seltzjohanna@gmail.com.