Editorial Note: David Brennan took time to post a comment but it ended up buried. I have brought it forward here. There are two factual points that should be made about David's post.
Nobody knows what the final cost will be. The Ballot question gives no definite amount of money that we are being asked to approve. It does not say a debt exclussion of $47 Million - it is completely open ended.1 - The final cost is very well known. The details are available here
2 - The ballot question wording is the product of a state mandate. This was discussed in the Town Council meeting on February 1 when the ballot question was discussed and approved. You can find the notes from the Town Council meeting here
While the ballot question is open ended, the actual binding resolution is very explicit:
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED that the Town Council of the Town of Franklin: appropriates the sum of one hundred four million, six hundred forty-nine thousand, eight hundred seventy-six dollars ($104,649,876) for the construction of a new Franklin High School to be located at 218 Oak Street, and for the payment of all other costs incidental and related thereto which school facility shall have an anticipated useful life as an educational facility for the instruction of school children for at least 50 years, said sum to be expended under the direction of the School Building Committee, and to meet said appropriation the Town Treasurer with the approval of the Town Administrator is authorized to borrow said sum under M.G.L. Chapter 44, or any other enabling authority; that the Town of Franklin acknowledges that the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (“MSBA”) grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any project costs the Town of Franklin incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town of Franklin; provided further that any grant that the Town of Franklin may receive from the MSBA for the Project shall not exceed the lesser of (1) fifty-nine point fifty-two hundredths percent ( 59.52%) of eligible, approved project costs, as determined by the MSBA, or (2) the total maximum grant amount determined by the MSBA; provided that any appropriation hereunder shall be subject to and contingent upon an affirmative vote of the Town to exempt the amounts required for the payment of interest and principal on said borrowing from the limitations on taxes imposed by M.G.L. 59, Section 21C (Proposition 2½); and that the amount of borrowing authorized pursuant to this vote shall be reduced by any grant amount set forth in the Project Funding Agreement that may be executed between the Town of Franklin and the MSBA.
The text of the Ballot Question:
Resolution 12 - 07
Shall the Town of Franklin be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two-and-one-half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued in order to construct a new high school, to be located at 218 Oak Street, and for the payment of all other costs incidental and related thereto?