Newtown Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Sandy Hook School Project

Yes: 4,504
No: 558

In a landslide, voters approved a $50 million grant from the state of Connecticut at Newtown Middle School Saturday -- funds that will now go to pay for a new Sandy Hook Elementary School, to be built on the site of the old school at 12 Dickenson Drive.

Supporters cheered as the vote was announced at about 8:26 pm.

"It's relief and an exhilaration at the same time," said Selectman Jim Gaston. "It's a tremendous endorsement and expression of support for Sandy Hook from the whole town."

Advocates for the measure took to the street Saturday, stationing sign-bearers at the corner of Church Hill and Queen Street and in the center of Sandy Hook. Prior to the results, Legislative Council member Mary Ann Jacob credited a "Text 5" grassroots campaign with turning out voters.

"We asked people to text 5 friends to [remind them to vote]," she said. "Our challenge is always the same: get the yes votes out. And we like to see strong showings."

Board of Education member Laura Roche, who stood outside Newtown Middle School during the day holding signs with other advocates, said she was "speechless" with joy after the results were announced.

"This has been an emotional vote, obviously," she said. "This will help our town heal and move forward. But I wish we could have brought all of our kids back to Sandy Hook ... That's the most emotional part of all."

Now that the measure has been approved, officials say work can begin in earnest on the school. Prior to the vote, First Selectman Pat Llodra said the goal is to have the school open by September 2016, but construction firm Consigli Construction feels they might be able to get the school completed by January 2016.

More news on the way. Stay connected to Patch for updates.
John Munro October 05, 2013 at 09:20 PM
It would have been 100% but some voters can't read.
SH Longtimer October 05, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Love wins!!! Congratulations, Newtown voters. You did us proud today.
Lynn Edwards October 05, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Thanks especially to all the dedicated volunteers who helped spread the word and information around town the past 2 weeks over emails, social media and passing out flyers; all the schools' PTAs; Pat Llodra and John Reed; all our elected officials; the State of CT for the grant; and every single person who took the time to vote! This landslide belongs to you.
Matt Bracksieck October 06, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Maybe we should hold our budget votes on a Saturday too--turnout was impressive.
Clare October 06, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Thomas Crafts October 06, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Squandered public funds.
SH Longtimer October 06, 2013 at 10:04 PM
"Squandered?" How so, Thomas?
AnthonyScire October 07, 2013 at 08:11 AM
@SH i wonder if the residents would have voted it in if they had to pay for it from there local property taxes. I am willing to bet they would not have passed it. But free money is always good if you are not having to pay it back. Pat LIodra and the PTA are thanking the wrong people. They should be thanking the tax payers of ct that will pay this bill. Correct me if i am wrong but is not Newtown a schools geographical. This school should be deemed REGIONAL as the state is paying for it and that means it belongs to the tax payers of CT > Not Newtown!
SH Longtimer October 09, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Anthony, do you think for a moment we wouldn't trade every single penny to have our friends, our children and our school back?
AnthonyScire October 10, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Not the point. This is a TAX issue plain and simple. So what would be the difference if a town needed a new school and the state paid for every school construction project. Would you be willing to flip the bill to build other schools around the state. And 50 Million what kind of a school rates that type of money and how big will it be for the area. Plain and simple the town voted for free money to build a school and everyone calls it a LANDSLIDE. Would you not cash in a lottery ticket if you won or would you sign it over to the state? I think not. Plain and simple the school you will be building belongs to the people living in CT and paying for it. And the TAX payers that paid for it should have access to it. If you like i will formulate the numbers and increase in your mill rate if Newtown had to pay for this. I am sure it would increase your taxes significantly. If memory serves Newtown voted down security personnel because of the cost. But you are sure taking free money. What am i missing?
SH Longtimer October 10, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Our mill rate is already 33.32. Newtown has very little business. Almost all our expenditures are covered by property tax. We are already tax beyond our means here. And this is not just any school. If one of your schools in your town was leveled by a tornado, would you expect your town to foot the bill with no help? 50 million is a lot of money, absolutely. But the school has to be totally demolished and totally reconfigured. It's something you can only understand if you live it. If it happened to a school in your town, I would vote to help your town rebuild. So would a lot of other people. I would not punish your town because one lunatic came in and destroyed your community's piece of mind & sense of safety. They did not pull that figure out of the air. The state didn't say, "Well, we can spare a lot of money. Let's just give them a nice, round 50 million." A lot of research went into it. And you like to say "free money." Trust me, we pay every single day. And it will never go away. But I understand that you can't understand how it is here. You didn't live it. Be thankful that you don't understand. Be thankful that your town & your children are not forever changed. Count your blessings.
Clare October 10, 2013 at 09:07 AM
AnthonyScire - When did you come to the Epiphany that taxes pay for everything? You are late to the party. Everything a town, a state and a country does or builds come from taxes. That's the way it's been for over 200 years in this country and that's the way it will stay. I don't always like how my taxes are used nor do I like how high my taxes are but I'm an American and I'm proud to pay them. This use of our tax money is worth it whether you or anybody else likes it and we in Newtown are glad and thankful for it.
Mom of two October 10, 2013 at 02:14 PM
"Plain and simple the school you will be building belongs to the people living in CT and paying for it. And the TAX payers that paid for it should have access to it"--------What does that even mean? You make zero sense!
AnthonyScire October 10, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Once again Newtown schools are Geographical not Regional. Plain and simple once again the state is paying for a new school and that school should be deemed a Magnet school. And it did not get blown down by a hurricane. If the tragedy did not happen would you as a community have built a new school? Iam willing to bet NO. And some will say enrollments are declining in Newtown. Either way the state is paying for it and i can't think of any other town that had a school built that is geographical instead of regional. That is my point you are not paying for a school that no other town can use and you are using state money. Clearly a win for you and if your mill rate is 33.3 It would most likely increase 14-16% fast math with a 50 million dollar school project. I would do the same thing if someone offered me 50 Million bucks to expand my business at the expense of state Tax payers. But the vote should have included all tax payers in this state. Another words on a November ballot. Then i am willing to bet it would have failed. But it is dun and you got a FREE SCHOOL compliments of the Tax payers of ct. Can you dispute that fact? I think not!
Clare October 10, 2013 at 07:55 PM
AnthonyScared - "Clearly a win for you and if your mill rate is 33.3...." You know what? We would love to not have this stupid "win" if it means not losing babies murdered by an assault rifle. Exactly, who are you to be lecturing us? You need to post on your own Woodbury Patch and leave us alone. BTW, I would love to see this vote brought up to the entire state. You know why? Because the people of this state are far more generous than people like you. They empathize with Newtown while you have no idea what "empathize" means. Where you heart should be is a dollar sign. Thank God, most people in this state aren't like you.
Mom of two October 10, 2013 at 08:09 PM
"If the tragedy did not happen would you as a community have built a new school? Iam willing to bet NO."-----Wow, you must be a genius to have come to that conclusion!
Clare October 10, 2013 at 08:42 PM
He's mind reader. A mind reader from Woodbury who likes to post on the Newtown Patch. I guess Woodbury had no tax problems.
SH Longtimer October 10, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Anthony, this school is not a luxury. The old school could not be used again. It would have cost nearly as much to demolish the bullet-riddled half & bring the other half up to code. I am disgusted that you keep referring to this as a FREE SCHOOL. There is nothing FREE about it. We pay every moment of every day, in ways you could never imagine. Be grateful for that. I hope you never have to live with what I live with every day. Obviously, I know it didn't get "blown down." I would hope you could decipher what my point was. It's not about how the school was destroyed. I can't believe you didn't understand that. As far as the "declining enrollment" goes, enrollment is cyclical. It is down for a few years, then it is up again. I remember the town I grew up in going thru a decline. They closed a few of the schools. A few years later, they had to build new schools again. So the enrollment does not really factor into your argument. And I can't help but wonder if you might be one of those "tragedy groupies" who likes to "see where it all happened." Is that the real reason everyone should have access to the new school? Sorry, but we had someone come into our school and ruin our lives. No matter where our school is, it will not be "open to the public" ever again. I think I'll bow out of this conversation now. I can see that you, as Clare said, you have no empathy. There is no way to make you understand. I'm done trying.
Thomas Crafts October 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM
"The old school could not be used again" BS, the old school and the new school are of equal utility. We just demolished 30 mil and spent 50 mil we didn't have. What a stupid waste. The fools are running the finances.
John Munro October 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Thomas. I share your politics but not your rigidness. This situation is unprecedented in Connecticut. Who are you to judge what is of equal utility? The same people who year after year vote down the preposterous proposed Newtown budgets have overwhelmingly voted to support the new school. This knowing full well that our yes vote will contribute to our increased state deficits and taxes. Why the yes vote then -- simple, because other considerations outweigh financial ones. Look in the mirror and stop judging others.
Newtown Effect October 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Simple solution: When the time comes for tax increases, let those who voted YES pay them, and let those who voted NO be exempt. Simple. The Newtown Effect has even now infected finances in Newtown. Yikes.
Clare October 11, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Newtown Effect - Thank God that is not how democracy works. We are all in this together. One day you will need tax money, and one day I will. When it's needed, by whomever, tax money must be available for the good of everybody.
Alex S October 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM
But Clare, we are not a democracy. Who needs tax money or social security when they are older but those who don't know how to plan ahead? That's the problem with you and your kind. You don't think ahead. You rely on others to bail you out. Weak. Anyhoos, your SS money will be spent by the time you "need it" because Obama and the rest of you Dems have burdened the whole of America with financial chains of slavery because you are too weak to help yourselves.
Thomas Crafts October 12, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Looking in the mirror and wondering how and when I am going to get out of this town and state. Selling the house is a problem because the taxes are so high, but only going higher. Best to be in the front of that line. Sky is the limit on spending as far as I can see. A mil rate of 50 in Newtown's very near future.
Clare October 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Well, Alex have you and I ever met? What makes you think I am not planning ahead? Don't make unfounded, general statements about somebody you know nothing about. I will, however discuss what this article is about and you can go to....wherever you go....to try to iniciate fights. Just repeating, taxes have been in OUR DEMOCRACY for over 200 years and in the world at large much longer. Way longer than your self-serving attack on Social Security. They are there for, oh let me think, a town who had 20 babies murdered in their school and the town decided to demolish it so their classmates need not return to that same building. If you don't like the fact that the town made that decision and tax money was received to get it done, move. I suggest a small island in the Pacific.


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