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UPDATED: Lexington Voters Say 'Yes for Our Schools' (PHOTOS)

A pair of ballot questions seeking more than $60 million for elementary school building projects passed overwhelmingly during a special election held Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The preliminary results are in and they indicate resounding support for the debt exclusion questions seeking funding for repairs to the and elementary schools and rebuilding .

Lexington voters yesterday were asked to finance through debt exclusion overrides a pair of school building projects totalling about $60 million and the 27 percent or so who turned out solidly responded to the "Yes for Our Schools" rallying call of the campaign supporting the projects.

Voter participation was significantly lower than expected, with turnout topping 30 percent in only percincts 2, 4 and 7. The polling places for those precincts were at the Bowman, Bridge and Estabrook schools, respectively.

Precinct Pct 1 Pct 2 Pct 3 Pct 4 Pct 5 Pct 6 Pct 7 Pct 8 Pct 9 Total Registered Voters 2,134 2,483 2,126 2,502 2,635 2,475 2,415 2,316 2,349 21,435 Total Votes 458 793 420 749 598 695 781 604 627 5,725 Percent 21% 32% 20% 30% 23% 28% 32% 26% 27% 27%

The first question, to fund $22.7 million in renovations on the Bridge and Bowman schools passed with 3,755 votes in favor (about 66 percent of ballots cast) to 1,945 votes against, according to last night's unofficial numbers from the Town Clerk's office.

Precinct Pct 1 Pct 2 Pct 3 Pct 4 Pct 5 Pct 6 Pct 7 Pct 8 Pct 9 Total









Yes 252 594 306 514 331 445 546 393 374 3,755 No 205 196 112 232 267 247 224 209 253 1,945 Blanks 1 3 2 3 0 3 11 2 0 25

The Bridge and Bowman project, intended to extend the life of both aging but structurally sound schools, and work should begin as early as this April vacation.

The second question, to rebuild Estabrook Elementary School, , passed even more decisively, garnering 4,139 votes in favor (about 72 percent) and 1,570 votes against.

Precicnt Pct 1 Pct 2 Pct 3 Pct 4 Pct 5 Pct 6 Pct 7 Pct 8 Pct 9 Total Yes 269 626 320 564 366 515 625 438 416 4,139 No 189 165 98 182 230 178 154 165 209 1,570 Blanks 0 2 2 3 2 2 2 1 2 16

Tuesday's "yes" vote was marks the latest step in the process following the . Back in December, the with a north-south orientation and a price tag between about $39 and $42.8 million.

The Estabrook project project, which is Massachusetts School Building Authority's pipeline for reimbursement funding, still requires Town Meeting approval, which will be sought during a special session of Town Meeting scheduled for April 2.

In total, the debt exclusions approved yesterday, which exempt the town from the provisions of Proposition 2 1/2 for these projects, will add about $300 to tax bill for the average Lexington homeowner, although that number will decrease over the life of the debt.

Though the voter turnout was not as high as expected, supporters of the projects say the results sent a clear message that, while some questioned the cost and wisdom of investing in renovations, the town could not afford not to undertake these projects at this time.

"The decisive, positive result on both questions is a huge win for our students and our town,” School Committee Chairwoman Mary Ann Stewart told Patch after the results were tallied. “I am thrilled with this result. Lexington places a high value on its excellent school system and has strongly supported its schools.

"I am grateful for the volunteers who worked so hard to get the facts about the three schools out to the community and for all of the voters who came out to vote on these important questions," Stewart said.

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