May 8 budget override vote: a guide to its potential effects



The override would help the town renovate the current high school building and expand to 111 Cyprus Street, as pictured above in a model of the expansion.

Madison Sklaver, Staff Writer

Students and residents have been hearing for years that enrollment is increasing and schools are overcrowding, and now Brookline voters will have the opportunity to vote on a potential budget override.

On May 8, Brookline voters will vote on two questions: if property taxes should be raised permanently to accommodate for the increase in students in Brookline Public Schools and if they should be raised temporarily to fund the high school expansion.

The override will, in theory, make class sizes smaller, adjust to the increasing number of students in Brookline, expand the high school and pay for programs that work to close the achievement gap.

According to the Override Study Committee, the number of students enrolled in Brookline Public Schools has grown 29 percent, with the addition of 1692 students, since the 2003-2004 school year. In addition, in the 2017-2018 school year, there are over 200 more kindergarteners entering Brookline Schools yearly and 145 more high school seniors than there were in the 2003-2004 school year. Because there are more students, 29.85 percent of the classes in Brookline kindergarten through eighth grade have more than 21 students.

The Override Study Committee also found that since the number of students is increasing, the number of teachers the town is required to hire is also rising. The town would use some of the money to pay for the addition of teachers.

According to the League of Women Voters of Brookline, the override, if passed, would increase taxes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2022 by 8.7 percent: 3.11 percent for the Operating Override, which would provide money for the schools and town departments, and 5.59 percent for the debt exclusion for the high school’s expansion in FY 2022.

If the temporary raised taxes override passes, the town will use the money for the high school expansion project. The main changes to be made with this project would include buying 111 Cypress Street to create a primarily ninth grade building, making a science wing, renovating Schluntz Gymnasium to create classrooms in this building, updating the Tappan Gymnasium and Evelyn Kirrane Aquatic Center and improving Cypress Field. The town argues that these changes are important because the number of students currently enrolled in Brookline High School is much higher than what the current building was built to accommodate.

Though the override would mean higher property taxes for Brookline residents, obtaining this money would uphold the main goal of Brookline Public Schools; to ensure the best possible education and opportunity for all students.


Contributed research by Emma Kahn.