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Referendum Passes - A New School Will Be Built

In a vote of 2,058 to 2,018, the referendum vote is a success for a new school.

 

The people spoke and they said, "We want a new school."

In a vote of 2,058 to 2,018, the $64.75 million new Morgan School passed at referendum today.  It was a difference of 40 votes.

It was a higher-than-normal turnout at the polls. Registrar of voters said about 3,900 voters came out to vote. There were 165 absentee votes and 181 votes by electors, or those owning property in town eligible to vote.

Fred Young April 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Will be looking to rent a log by the road so I can enroll my kids. Thank you, I am sure it will be a wonderfull school.
joan April 13, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I only pray to god, that the numbers are correct as to how many students will attend this new school. I can remember in April 2009, when a mistake was made in the Joel enrollment, and the town had to pay back to the state $226K.
Bart Brown April 13, 2012 at 09:43 PM
"Will be looking to rent a log by the road." Lotta trailer parks in Westbrook... "Side note: I wonder if the YES voters would be so 'it's over, let's work together' had they lost." Sore Loserman! Sore Loserman! Remember THAT one? The winners smile and the losers cry -- been that way since the first Clinton resident stole the sacred fire stick from the tribe next door. "Because at some point it's time to $h1t or get off the pot." Exactly. Say, I have an idea: instead of stirring the crumbs and aroma of this cooked, served, and eaten dish, why don't we all worry about the asteroid that statistically -- so it must be true -- is likely to hit the earth anytime between now and, say, 14 billion years from now? It's every bit as useful as all this sturm und drang about a referendum that passed. End of comments for me, this is just the same circular motion you see when you flush the toilet. Much of the same smell, too.
Fred Young April 13, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Was this a first referendum vote?
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Fred - yes, this was the first vote on the new Morgan School.
Fred Young April 13, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Thank you, Fay.
ClintonRes April 14, 2012 at 01:30 AM
YING & YANG We were clearly divided on the vote. Between the town, 40 votes! But it gives us balance. Let’s all move forward. With both sides giving input to make sure this building is built well, without shoddy construction, without short cuts…this could be a source of pride and something that goes on for decades, without the mistakes made in the past. We owe the town, residents and children this chance to shine with our foresight and efforts. Lets do it RIGHT.
Tim Maenza April 14, 2012 at 02:17 AM
When one is mistaken or wrong the only true thing to do is to admit it and appologize. I actually am glad Mr. Fitzgerald pointed this out and wish it was more publicized. And dont get me wrong at no point was i trying to make a dig at the committee who designed that building and oversaw that project. I was trying to make a point that in projects of this magnitude overages do occur frequently and I should have worded it differently than I did. And David thank you for your years of service.
Uneasy April 14, 2012 at 10:35 AM
While I am happy to see new school on the horizon, I am curious as to how this building site was chosen. Was there a choice given? What does this do to all the homes in that stretch? While I understand and accept inconvenience, there is no other land in town for this? I think having the library close to the school has been a big help for a lot of students. Also, there are quite a few teens that get their first jobs at the mall. As a person who gives other parents' kids rides, I have to wonder how this will all affect them. While the new school will be, I'm sure, beautiful, what does this do to the values of surrounding homes. I find it hard to believe this is the only spot in town.
OldTimeClinton April 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
In spring 2010/2011 the total of Clinton's bonding was $16,000,000 and we had about $8 million dollars in the bank. 2:1 - Not tooo bad a debt to capital ratio. Now in spring 2011/2012- add together the $9,400,000 bonding package of late spring 2011 and $65,000,000 for the new school makes our NEW bonding debt $90,400,000. Oops, do we add in wastewater here or wait till sewage is flowing down mainstreet? Let's wait. Now take out the $1,400,000 Willie spent (without consulting anyone) on Hurricane Irene and the other funding coming from the town's 'savings' account (since our 'checking' account is empty-if you don't believe me, read the minutes of the Bd of Finance and the Bd of Selectmen) and we're down to about $5 million 'in the bank'. Take $808,000 out of there for a balance in 'savings' of $4 million and we're at a 23:1 ratio of debt to capital. Did any yes voters do this math BEFORE the referendum or did they just keep sipping at the Kool-Aid? This is NOT how I run my life yet this is how Willie runs our town.
OldTimeClinton April 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM
both sides giving input? the referendum wrap up meeting Thursday night was in executive session- pretty hard to hear both sides when you don't let them in the door. We're in trouble here folks.
OldTimeClinton April 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
the problem here JMD is that we have now over invested in our homes and no one will want to move here only to make a monthly mortgage payment of $1500 and pay escrow another $850 for taxes etc.
Vindaloo April 14, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I don't know of any other more suitable and appropriate locations for the new school. Anywhere you build it there will be the same issues with homes and traffic. I would think it would be more desirable to have the school with all those athletic facilities near campus rather than a mall. As for the library location and the mall for students to work...the school is only moving a 1/4 mile up the road. They can still use the library and work at the mall. Morgan students might even be able to work at the business that eventually will be at the old school loc. DHS is in a residential neighborhood and nowhere near their library. This project has many steps to go through in the land use department.to address such issues as wetlands, flood plain, soils, existing house on property etc. before it is finally ready to build. Many changes will likely be make before the final design plan. The only thing that was passed in the vote was to be able to continue planning the school on that property. Everyone will have plenty of time to pick apart the details.
Vindaloo April 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM
As a yes voter, I was prepared to accept, cooperate, and assist with either decision.
George Hedrick April 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Bart, where does anybody get his or her's information from if, not from television,newspapers,magazines, and blogs? Of course corn crib was a silly analogy, it was meant to be. I have seen nothing on this blog that indicates to me that a 64mil. expenditure would increase a child ability to learn. By the way I am a parent and my wife and I were ALWAYS very much involved in their education when they attended school. One blogger said a new school would motivate students and teachers, parents are responsible to motivate their own children. Correct me if I am wrong but, since when does a teacher need to be motivated? that's what they get paid to do!
DisgruntledInClinton April 14, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Yes, when my best friend needed to relocate from the South, she looked at Clinton. Unfortunately, being very savvy, she went to the Clinton Patch first. After reading some of the nastiness and all the stuff about the school, taxes, lack of industrial tax base, etc., she's moving to Madison. She says she'd rather live in a town with teen sexual assault, "lobster-gate", and murder on Middle Beach Road than live with a bunch of rude bullies. Her words, not mine.
Jay April 14, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Nasty - heard those kind of words from KKK members a while back - the 40 votes do not entitle you to assume that attitude and if you continue you will find just how thin a "majority " you have. I also flagged you obnoxious post.
Sheldon Potesak jr. April 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Its done. The new school passed. Now all we can do is have both sides come together and work on great ideas for the town and new school.
Steve Bristol April 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Bart Nothing sinister meant; I only mentioned it because what I was reading here was contrary to what I (and others) heard many of the more "active" Yes voters saying....similar to what Fred alluded to (above). You've seen some of the follow-ups to defeated budget referendums and how nasty they got. That said, I also wouldn't rule out someone on the No side attempting to force a second referendum (it sure won't be me..but I'd probably sign it..esp. if to be held in Summer) The reason I wouldn't start that movement is that it still wouldn't change what MBC voted out nor the information they put out. It is what it is. It has been passed. My focus now is watching the hiring/spending/etc. as closely as I am able. We don't need another project needlessly going over planned expenditures....even if at least one of the MBC members spoke to 'spend every bit' of the contingency. Note: they are fully entitled to do so because 20/21 people were convinced to vote yes instead of no. Thanks for your opinions. Steve
Steve Bristol April 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Old Time, As the one general public person excused from the room (a sec'y and an environmental guy were the others), only part of the meeting was in executive session...about 20 minutes of a very lengthy meeting. Remaining were the Supt of schools and Asst. Supt., the Chairman of the BoE, the conceptual architect and his asst., the Gilbane rep, and the person the MBC were meeting with. I think that was it. Who and why might appear in the minutes when they come out. Expect input to come from the Committee and the school system.
DisgruntledInClinton April 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I sort of got an answer about whether the summer residents were informed. I emailed Mr. Fritz asking him if the approximately 3500 summer residents (obviously, not all of them are voting age) had been informed and he quickly got back to me "There were over 150 absentee ballots most by summer residents. Obvuously they knew." (typo not mine) So, it doesn't definitively answer whether they were informed by the town (most logically they would have been notified from the tax collector list), but he thinks that somehow, some or all of them knew.
Len Fried April 15, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I am quite certain that there was no communication from the town to summer residents. With respect to absentee ballots, when I first talked to the Town Clerk, Karen Marsden, she informed me that there was not enough time between the Town meeting and the Referendum to mail out absentee ballots. I then spoke with the Secretary of State's office in Hartford, and they informed me that this was not the case. I then informed Karen and Willie Fritz, and they agreed that absentee ballots would be mailed out. As a result there were 160 or so absentee ballots received.
Charlotte Kundrath April 15, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Being a resident of Clinton for the past 32 years, I am happy that the new H.S. vote passed. Four of my 5 children went to the Morgan school. My granddaughter graduated from the new Middletown H.S. I was happy for her that she was able to be in that beautiful new school for her junior & senior years, to use all the facilities, to sit on the stage with her band playing in the extraordinary theater. How wonderful it was for my husband and I to attend the performances in a “state of the art” theater with comfortable seating and air conditioning. The community of Middletown uses that theater to bring in operas and other fine programs. The whole community receives benefit from a new school. Clinton teens will be safer in the new location, away from busy traffic. How proud I am of Clinton residents to come out to vote in great numbers for the new school. Our families deserve this new school. We all may have to make sacrifices but isn’t that always the way? all making sacrifice for what is the best for our youth & community. I, a real estate agent for 30 years, have sold many Clinton homes. When people move they are looking for value, for good, modern schools for their children. Having this new school will help to drive the real estate values in town. More properties will be sold before the buyer will opt out to buy in neighboring towns. Remember, you may be a seller one day. Every advantage to living in Clinton, such as the new school, will help your house sell.
ClintonRes April 15, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Please Let's move forward... Old news is just that, Old News. "With both sides giving input to make sure this building is built well, without shoddy construction, without short cuts…this could be a source of pride and something that goes on for decades, without the mistakes made in the past." With a collaborative effort we can do this the right way!
ClintonRes April 15, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Yes, let's move on and make sure it's done correctly!@
Karin Craig April 15, 2012 at 02:08 AM
So far, I have read two different comments (since deleted) that stated two different people moved to Madison because of comments on the Clinton Patch. Really??? I find it very difficult to believe that people would choose a town in which to reside based upon comments in a local Online news source. I follow the Madison Patch as well since that's where I grew up and it's where my parents still live. I can assure you that there are some ugly comments posted there too. I can also assure you that had the Madison Patch been around when the new DHHS went to referendum years ago the comments would have been on par with what we saw here recently. Building a new DHHS was as divisive in Madison as building a new Morgan was here in Clinton. I'd like to state to other individuals who may be looking at properties in Clinton that the people who comment here represent a miniscule percentage of the population in this town, and I personally know some of them. I've lived here for almost 24 years and I love this little community. My son received a very good education, K-12, and went on to study at UCONN Storrs. The Clinton Patch provides a unique forum for all of us to voice our thoughts and opinions. However, one must also use some common sense when taking the word of people who post behind pseudonym names as Gospel. The truth can be found somewhere in the middle of both sides, on everything.
Mark April 15, 2012 at 02:20 AM
People need to vent, so keep commenting, but with restraint. I do see the value of the new school which includes an efficient heating system, a location outside the commercial zone, and possible commercial income (to name a few). However, I believe that the vote for the school was based more from an emotional standpoint rather than a fiscally responsible one. I understand that if I could only focus on the benefits of the new school alone I would have fewer worries. In the seven years that I have been a home owner in Clinton, I've seen my taxes go up on average $200/year. That's about 5.5% increase each year in taxes for my family. If this keeps up, I'll be paying an additional $800 in three years which includes the average annual increases and the school budget. I'll do my best to focus on the benefits of the new school, but throw in the sanitary sewer taxes I may be dead with a heart attack. Maybe you can understand my and many people's perspective on the referendum. That said, we can see many people have been speaking out, over 4,000 people voted, teenagers were holding up signs and getting involved. I challenge myself and everyone in Clinton to get involved, lets take action, lets develop a plan for Clinton, draw the types of businesses that will maintain Clinton strong points, the small town atmosphere, the historic colonial structures on Main Street and everything that drew use to this wonderful town. Please, continue to speak out.
Catherine April 15, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I am sorry but this argument on the fact that summer residents may have not had time to vote falls on deaf ears to me. People who are not full time residents have no vested interest in our town and especially it's school system. I grew up in a "summer town" and only people who were full time residents were allowed to vote on tax matters, to me that is common sense, Clinton's new charter committee should look into this, if this is not your full time residence your investment in its success especially that of its school system is nil...
Mark April 15, 2012 at 05:27 AM
I believe that the summer residents do have a vested interest in the community otherwise they wouldn't own property here. It would be risky to identify one or more groups of people that may be for or against the referendum. Although I think that was attempted earlier on this page and was met with some harsh responses. Despite any concerns regarding their right to vote or not to vote, the referendum voted in favor of the new school. At this point it would only be entertainment to speculate how the summer residents voted. So I will venture to guess nearly half voted no and slightly more than half voted yes.
Jonathan Sanders April 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Being that they pay a lot of taxes here, they have the right to decide on these matters. But if you are a summer resident, and in this digital age with online information had no idea that the town was voting on a new high school, then shame on you. You snooze. You lose.

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