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Brookline selectmen appoint override study committee

Posted by Brock Parker  August 14, 2013 10:22 AM

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Brookline selectmen Tuesday selected 13 members for a new committee to study whether the town needs to raise property taxes to pay for school expansions.

The 15-member committee will be chaired by Selectman Richard Benka and School Committee member Susan Wolf Ditkoff and is being asked to make its recommendation by March 1 about whether a Proposition 2 ½ override is needed for fiscal year 2015.

Brookline’s B-SPACE committee studying ways to accommodate surging student enrollment voted Monday in favor of expanding Brookline High School and multiple Kindergarten through 8th grade schools. The School Committee must now hone in on a specific plan, and while a cost has not been determined town officials have estimated the cost could range between $150—300 million.

Town officials have said that it is likely that at least one override would be necessary to pay for the expansions and to staff the additional classrooms.

The override study committee will study whether a property tax hike is needed, and if so how much it should be.

In June, the B-SPACE committee made early estimates that the tax increase could range between 6.7 percent to a 9 percent property on the median Brookline single family home, which is valued at about $1,071,750. If the override study committee recommends a tax increase in that range, the owner of the town’s median single family home could expect an increase of about $670 or more on their tax bills each year.

The committee members selected by a 3-2 vote of Selectmen Tuesday range from financial and real estate experts, to architects, parents, small business owners, town meeting members and a former school committee member. Selectmen Chair Betsy DeWitt voted against the slate of 13 candidates because she said she felt there should been more than four women on the list. Selectman Neil Wishinsky also voted against the list.

The committee members selected are: Clifford Brown, Alberto Chang, Chad Ellis, Janet Gelbart, Michael Glover, Carol Kamin, Kevin Lang, Carol Levin, Sergio Modigliani, Lee Selwyn, James Stergios, Beth Jackson Stram and Timothy Sullivan.

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