Project Funding
and Taxpayer Costs



Understanding the Spring Vote

In the spring, we hope that voters across all three towns will vote whether or not to approve funding to build a brand-new school.

  • A 'YES' VOTE means you approve paying $93.2 million to build a brand-new, energy-efficient school with modern technology, security features and collaborative classrooms necessary for a 21st century education. The district will actually get a $155 million school, because the state will cover the additional cost through its reimbursement program.

  • A 'NO' VOTE means you do not want a new school. You prefer to wait until the high school fails, at which time repair costs are estimated to start at $70 million. This does not include the myriad costs associated with re-locating students to other buildings while the school is closed and under repair. Why $70 million? State law requires the district to bring the entire building up to code if it makes any repairs costing more than 30 percent of the building’s value. Multiple systems at the 1950s-era high school — heating, plumbing and electric — are presently at risk of “imminent failure,” and estimates to repair any one of those systems exceed the 30 percent threshold. If the middle school also fails, the additional repair costs would start at $40 million.


Guide to MSBA funding


Why state funding may not be an option if we wait

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is a quasi-independent government authority that partners with public school districts to support the construction of cost-effective, sustainable and educationally appropriate schools. The MSBA helps fund capital improvement projects through a state reimbursement, eligible to districts that meet specific design criteria. 

The position we are in right now is a privilege and an opportunity. Due to the number of school building projects across the state, the reimbursement rate has been steadily dropping. A decade ago, it was as high as 80 percent. Today, we are conservatively estimating that we will receive 40 percent.

If we wait, experts warn if any future requests are considered, the reimbursement rate could be much lower than today's estimated 40 percent. 


MSBA Funding Timeline


1 of 96 

proposals submitted from schools across massachusetts

Applying for MSBA funding is very competitive. We were among 96 districts - one-third of the state total - vying for a chance at state money. 


1 of 19

proposals chosen as candidates for 40% state reimbursement

Of those 96, Pentucket was one of just 19 chosen to have the opportunity to submit design plans. As long as they meet MSBA criteria, the only thing standing in the way of this funding is a 'no' vote.


3.5 years

into the process already

The school district began this process several years ago. A lot of time, money and resources have brought us to this point. If this measure does not pass, any future requests go back to the bottom of the pile.


Property Tax Impact
by Town

Household tax impact based on average assessed home value by town:



($400K average assessment)

$745 / YEAR

$62 / month


($375K average assessment)

$734 / YEAR

$61.15 / month

West Newbury

($550K average assessment)

$755 / YEAR

$62.91 / month

It’s important to note that these are averages and estimates only, and these numbers are subject to change as the design plans are developed over the next several months. Many homeowners in each town will pay less, and some homeowners with very high property values will pay more.

Questions about cost, process or design?