Hopkinton, MA
Hopkinton, US
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Letter to the Editor: Town should hold off on Hopkins addition

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Letter to Editor

As a 12-year resident of Hopkinton and parent of two students in the Hopkinton Public Schools, I strongly urge voters to temporarily postpone the Hopkins School expansion project with a “No” vote on Article 19 at Annual Town Meeting on May 6.

This $52 million-plus project would result in a $450 annual tax increase for the average homeowner, which would be in addition to the $900-plus approved for the Elmwood School replacement. These large tax increases are untenable for many residents. Pausing this project will give the district time to distinguish a true “need” from a “nice to have,” determine if enrollment growth is slowing, and allow the district to demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the taxpayers who are being stretched to the absolute breaking point by these enormous capital expenditures.

It is claimed that this $52 million-plus Hopkins project will “alleviate overcrowding upstream at the middle and high school.” I recall the exact same thing was said regarding the $158 million Elmwood School replacement project prior to fall town meeting. I fully expect a construction project will be needed in the near future at our aging middle school (built in 1954), or an expansion/connection to the high school will be necessary to truly relieve these capacity problems; the transparency surrounding this topic is lacking.

Speaking of capacity issues, it is a verifiable fact that our actual K-12 student enrollment has missed the MSBA forecast for two consecutive years. This is particularly notable because the district uses these MSBA enrollment projections for determining the need of these massive capital projects.

At Annual Town Meeting, voters must keep in mind other multi-million dollar town expenditures that will be required very soon. We have the planned MWRA [Massachusetts Water Resources Authority] connection, which will ensure a safe residential drinking water supply, and other necessary renovations to town-owned buildings and infrastructure. It is vital to the financial future of Hopkinton that we maintain a balance between school and town-wide needs.

Some positives to consider with a postponement of this project: there is zero risk of losing state funding (since we didn’t apply for any), the superintendent says the Hopkins School building is currently safe and operational, and, most importantly, we have our talented educators who are the true reason behind our top-rated district. Please attend ATM on May 6 and help our most financially vulnerable neighbors stay in Hopkinton.

— Kristen Turner, Hopkinton

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