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RSD 13 Referendum
June 11th 6 am - 8 pm Community Center


The Durham Democratic Town Committe supports a yes vote on the RSD 13 Referendum to close Lyman and Brewster Schools and expand Memorial School. We believe that this plan is in the best interests
of both students and taxpayers.

Since there are so many question surrounding the RSD13 upcoming referendum on the school reconfiguration, here are some of the facts.
 

1. What is this referendum about? The Board of Education is proposing to close two schools: Lyman in Middlefield and Brewster in Durham. They will then have three schools in the system. Memorial will have PreK-5th grade. Strong will have grades 6-8. The high school will remain the same with grades 9-12.
 

2. Why are they having a referendum? Under the RSD13 contract, closing any school must be put to referendum. The question has to be passed by both towns.
 

3. What happens if the question passes? The BOE will be authorized to apply for grants to pay for the costs. They can also contact potential buyers of the properties.
 

4. What happens if the question doesn’t pass? Nothing. The schools’ maintenance will include about a 3% increase a year, until something needs to be fixed. The district will continue maintaining 5 buildings. Everything will continue to increase in cost, until something breaks, when it will sharply increase in cost.

 

5. How will this reconfiguration be paid for? Any expenditure will need another referendum, probably later this year. We have estimates now of the potential costs and savings, but the BOE will need authorization from this June referendum to negotiate the final details
 

6. What is the estimated expense for Durham? The exact amount will be voted on later this year. Currently the project is expected to cost about $70 million dollars. Of this, Durham’s share will be about $20 million. If that amount is bonded out over 30 years, the annual cost of servicing the bond will about equal the savings due to closing the two schools, so that essentially there is no additional cost to bonding.
 

7. How will they include 6 grades in Memorial? Memorial will be remodeled to accommodate all 6 grades. The Pre-K – 2nd grades will be on the lower floors. The older grades will be on the top floor. To receive grant money from the state, the school must be remodeled as new; additions would include such things as sprinklers for fire protection and ADA compliance.
 

8. How will this affect the special programs at Lyman? The dual system has already been discontinued. The curriculum is the same for Brewster and Lyman. Rejecting the referendum will not return the dual program system. Reconfiguring the schools will allow equal access to programs & activities.
 

9. Is closing both schools unfair to either Durham or Middlefield? Durham will have 2 schools: Strong & CRHS. While Middlefield will have one school, Memorial, it will be the largest in the district with the most students.
 

10. Will rejecting the referendum save money? No. Maintenance costs on the two buildings will rise by about 3% a year. The temporary buildings at Lyman have rotted and reached the end of their life span. The district has maintained the buildings, but they are at the end of their expected spans. Not only will maintenance costs be higher, but as systems break it will be even more expensive to fix in each school.

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