Happy Special-Town-Meeting-Eve!

Logistics:

  • 8:00am – Voter check-in begins outside the Auditorium. Seating is available in the Auditorium and in the Reed Gym.
  • 9:00am – Presentations begin
  • 10:30am – The floor is open for questions
  • This meeting ends with a vote – regardless of the outcome there will be a ballot vote on Monday!
  • The Girl Scouts will be selling snacks and coffee

 Background Materials

THANK YOU!!! Literally hundreds of people have been engaged and involved in this process. We are immensely grateful to each of you – we hear your voices, and they are part of the fabric of this process and of this Lincoln School project.  See you in the morning!!

– The Outreach Team

This is a Community Project

Over the past 19 months, the Lincoln School project has been forged by the willingness of residents with a wide range of values, priorities, expertise, opinions, and viewpoints to come together to try to collaboratively solve an incredibly complex problem. The goal of the SBC has been to create a process and a platform for individual ideas to be heard and to give direction to its work. In June, we presented 5 viable ways to move forward, and our community made a group decision, in an unprecedented way, about which project best balanced those priorities and delivered the most value for the investment.

At the end of that Special Town Meeting, an overwhelming majority chose the project known as “L3.” The clarity of the vote was due to the fact that many people, with many ideas, were willing to passionately champion their values while demonstrating their willingness to compromise; finding a balance among multiple needs and interests.

The result is a project that is a reflection of resident values; it is “ours,” as a town, in every sense of the word.

What did it take to get to this point?

When we started this process, many challenged us to go beyond a school that is “safe, warm, and dry” and to focus on transforming the educational environment. They noted that the neighborhood model of classrooms, which supports how our educators teach (with future flexibility), would be easiest to achieve in a new, more compact building – not one with classrooms strung out along a long corridor.

Many residents focused on the opportunity to live up to the green energy goals LIncoln set for itself a decade ago, when the town voted to adopt a fossil fuel reduction standard for its public buildings. They focused our attention on “energy use intensity,” the importance of a well-insulated building, new heating & cooling technologies, and the need to generate electricity on site in order to further reduce our carbon footprint. This would be easiest to achieve with new construction.

Others drew our attention to the deep historical ties the town has to the Ballfield Road site. It was the home of the Lincoln Mohawks baseball team in the first half of the 20th century, and where the town regularly gathered in the grand stands. The Lincoln School itself was designed by two Lincoln-resident modern architects, Lawrence Anderson and Henry Hoover. They helped transform school architecture by providing ample access to natural light, connections to the outdoors, and moveable (dare we say flexible?) furniture that wasn’t bolted to the floor. Many residents saw the important connection of the current building to our town’s history, and wanted to ensure that we re-used as much of it as possible and preserved the integrity of the campus.

The Lincoln School is an important center of the community, and many emphasized its role in our recreational and civic life. They placed a high value on retaining both of our full-sized gyms and the Auditorium.

And everyone wanted to ensure that the project would provide good long-term value for the up-front cost – while being mindful of the immediate impact on the community.

As is quickly apparent, it is not easy to reconcile all of these priorities – but there was a lot of determination! As a result of the creativity of our design team and our committee, and a high level of community participation in the process, we all decided that L3 did the best job of drawing all of those interests together.

On Saturday, we will come together to test that hypothesis.

We know that people will come to the meeting looking at the project through different lenses and their own set of experiences. While we all listen to the presentations and the ensuing debate, the following questions might serve as a framework:

  • What is the impact of our decision on future generations of educators and learners?
  • When we look back in 10 or 20 years, will we have made a wise choice?
  • Have we successfully balanced the values of our community? – Education, environmental stewardship, respect for our history and civic life, and fiscal responsibility?
  • What is the impact of our decision on other Town priorities?

Each of us may answer these questions in different ways. We look forward to a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on Saturday.

Educational Value(s)…and Some Financial FAQs…

District Strategic Plan

Each year, with input from the community, the Lincoln School Committee and Administrative Team set strategic priorities for the district. These priorities guide professional development and collaboration in the Lincoln School and in the Hanscom Schools. Since the new Hanscom Middle School opened in 2016, the district has had the opportunity to see how a school designed around grade-level neighborhoods and flexible common spaces can support our educational priorities, and how it makes it easier for our teachers to engage in the kinds of collaborations that spark creative and engaging curriculum.

Our teachers are our best educational resource. The building and environment can make their work easier or harder. Below are some resources to learn more about the impact of the learning environment:

  • Want to read about some of the values articulated by our faculty? Visit our October 15, 2017 post, How Spaces Impact Learning.
  • The Industrial Age gave us the assembly line. It also instilled the philosophy that education — and the school buildings where learning happens — needed to mimic that style of design, with facilities built around long corridors that file students into boxlike classrooms filled with rows of desks…But in the 21st century, education is moving away from the assembly-line mentality, encouraging students to collaborate, work hands-on, explore their environment, and continually engage with fresh ideas.” —Excerpted from How Architecture Boosts 21st Century Learning published by the site “The T74,” a non-partisan, non-profit site covering education in America.
  • For more about hubs, revisit our June 3rd post, FAQs: Hubs & Code Compliance.
  • Visit the “Impact on Education” page of the SBC website to learn more, watch videos, etc.

Some Financial FAQs (with assistance from the Finance Committee & Town Finance Team)

I’ve seen that taxes would go up 17% – 19%. Would they keep going up by that much every year?
No. Paying for the bond is like making payments on a fixed rate, 30-year mortgage. The cost for the bond remains constant once it is fully added to the tax bill. However, unlike taking out a mortgage, the Town is likely to issue the bond in two “tranches” or pieces, that will mean the increase in taxes will likely be phased in over 3 years.

When would the project show up on my tax bill?
Based on the currently anticipated borrowing schedule, the first impact would occur in the tax bill for the second half of calendar year 2019.

Will it happen all at once?
No. Based on the currently anticipated borrowing schedule, about 45% of the total increase would appear on the tax bill for the 2nd half of calendar year 2019. That same amount would be included in both semi-annual tax bills of calendar year 2020, bringing that year’s added payments to 90% of the total increase. The two semi-annual added payments in calendar year 2021 would be slightly higher and add up to 95% of the total increase, and then the tax bills from calendar year 2022 onwards would have the full increase included. In other words, it will take about 3 years until we are paying the full “mortgage payment” on the school.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Outreach Team wishes everyone a turkey-and-pie-filled, enjoyable few days!

We will be on hiatus for just a bit…and then you’ll be hearing from us quite frequently in the final days before the Special Town Meeting which is a week from Saturday!

A few links in case you’re trying to avoid doing the dishes:

Lincoln School Project Overview (this should have arrived in the mail along with the official Town Meeting warrant notice and a glossary of Finance Committee terms.

FAQs: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

Finance Committee FAQs

FAQs: Tax Deferral and Abatement Programs

Click here to visit the Town’s page dedicated to the December 1st Special Town Meeting.  Lot’s of information!

 

FAQ – Tax Relief Programs

~~ TONIGHT! Multi-Board Meeting ~~

7:00pm – 9:00pm Hartwell Pod B

The School Building Committee, Finance Committee, Capital Planning Committee, and Green Energy Committee will present updated information in preparation for December 1st.  

The public is welcome and encouraged to come ask questions!


FAQ: Are there any ways to mitigate the impact of the property tax increase?

The Town of Lincoln offers all of the tax deferral and abatement programs authorized by the state. Below is a chart of the available programs. For more information about property taxes, please visit the Assessor’s web page on the Town website.

See the Latest!

After getting strong guidance from the community that it preferred a “sloped roof” approach to the new center of the building, our design team incorporated the feedback people gave and created updated drawings of the exterior.  Take a look!

Got Questions?


Bring them to us! This week’s outreach sessions…:

  • Tuesday, November 13th, 8:00am, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • Wednesday, November 14th, 9:00am, deCordova Café
  • Thursday, November 15th, 11:00am, The Commons

And other meetings…

  • Wednesday, November 14, 7:00pm, SBC Meeting, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • Thursday, November 15th, 7:00pm, Multi Board Meeting, Pod B

And on Saturday, December 1st!…

  • 8:00am, check in begins for the Special Town Meeting!
    • Please arrive early to get checked in.
    • Both the Auditorium and the Reed Gym will be open – check in for everyone is outside the Auditorium.
  • 9:00am, meeting begins (promptly!)
  • Babysitting available!
    • LEAP is providing care for children ages 5+. Email leap0615@gmail.com for more information.
    • The Lincoln Family Association is offering a parent/child drop-in space for the under 5 set. Email lincfam2005@yahoo.com for more information.

 

(Funding) Plans…(Building) Plans…(Voting) Plans…

What is the funding plan?

The Lincoln Finance Committee met on Monday, November 5th and voted unanimously to recommend the following plan for funding the $93.9M Lincoln School project:

  • $4.4M from Stabilization Funds (existing funds)
  • $1.0M from Free Cash (existing funds)
  • $88.5 BOND (new borrowed funds)

This is the funding mix the Town will vote on.

The Finance Committee also voted unanimously to release the following statement:

“On June 9th the town decisively supported a school project that embodied educational values and sustainability through a renovated school project. We believe:

    1. The SBC has faithfully executed on this charge designing a project staying within the $93.9mil budget,
    2. The town can finance it and should be able to maintain our AAA bond rating,

and thus FinCom supports this project.”

How will this impact our property taxes?

What are the updates to the building plans?

At the November 1st workshops and through subsequent outreach, the community was asked to weigh in on “flat roofs” vs “sloped roofs” for the center section of the building. Thank you to everyone who offered their opinion!

The feedback from those who weighed in showed a strong preference for sloped roofs (~80% vs 20%). At Wednesday’s meeting, the SBC considered both options, and voted to direct the design team to further refine the sloped roof design. If the project is approved, there will be further work to determine optimal design details.

What are your voting plans?

Saturday, December 1st: Special Town Meeting, 9:00am

  • Both the Auditorium and the Reed/Brooks Gym will be available for voters.
  • Eligible voters must check in outside the Auditorium.
  • You must be present to vote at the Town Meeting.
  • A 2/3 majority is required to authorize the funding and to proceed with the project.

Monday, December 3rd: Ballot Vote, 7:30am – 8:00pm

  • Voting is in the Smith Gym.
  • You may vote an absentee ballot in person at the Town Clerk’s office starting on Friday, November 9th.
  • Requests for absentee ballots must be made before 5:00pm on November 30th.
  • Applications for absentee ballots may be made by a family member, BUT Massachusetts law does not permit any person to obtain or deliver an absentee ballot for another individual.
  • Absentee ballots being returned by mail from the United States must be received by the Town Clerk by the close of the polls (8pm) on December 3rd.
  • To request a ballot or to get more information visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleabsentee/absidx.htm

Outreach  Events

  • TOMORROW (Friday) – 8:30am in the Lincoln Woods community room
  • TOMORROW (Friday) – 1:00pm in Bemis Hall
  • SATURDAY, 11/10 – 1:00pm, Lincoln Library
  • TUESDAY, 11/13 – 8:00am, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • WEDNESDAY, 11/14 – 9:00am, deCordova Café
  • THURSDAY, 11/15 – 11:00am, The Commons
  • THURSDAY, 11/15 – 7:00am, Multiboard Meeting, Pod B

Did you weigh in?…

…there’s still time!

At the November 1st Community Workshops, participants were asked to give their opinions about the look of the new central entrance & commons areas of the school.  So far, 79% of those who gave us feedback at the workshops or online have said they prefer the sloped roof design. What is your opinion? We’re still accepting feedback, so take a look at the sloped vs flat images and let us know what you think! The SBC will be discussing the two options at this week’s meeting: Wednesday, November 7th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Green Energy Committee Presentation

At the November 1st workshops, the Green Energy Committee talked about the sustainability aspects of the project that would make it a leader in public school renovation projects. Click here to see their slides.

Community Outreach

If you weren’t able to get to one of the workshops, swing by one of the SBC outreach events this week:

  • Friday, November 9th, 8:30am – Lincoln Woods Community Room
  • Friday, November 9th, 1:00pm – Bemis Hall
  • Saturday, November 10th, 1:00pm – Lincoln Library

Financial & Capital Planning

  • Monday, November 5th, 7:30pm, Donaldson Room – The Finance Committee will be meeting to discuss the financing structure for the project. Click here to see the slides the Finance Committee presented at the State of the Town on October 20th. 
  • Thursday, November 8th, 7:30pm, Town Offices – The Capital Planning Committee has the project on their agenda.

Coming Soon! 

The SBC is collecting a new set of FAQs and will address them in upcoming posts! If you’d like to check out our current collections of FAQs, visit the FAQs home page. 

Sloped Roofs vs. Flat Roofs – Which do you prefer?

If you weren’t at this morning’s Community Workshop, you have another chance to weigh in on the look of the Lincoln School:

TONIGHT (Thursday), 7:00pm, REED/BROOKS GYM!  This is the fun part – come join us! 

There are 2 options for the new heart of the building: a sloped roof OR a flat roof.

Which do you prefer?

                              OR…

P.S. We’d love to see you in person so you can be part of the conversation, BUT, if you really can’t make it, give us your opinion by clicking on “comment” at the bottom of the post.)