MILFORD — There was a line outside Lulu M. Ross Elementary School Wednesday morning of people waiting to cast their vote for or against Milford School District’s capital referendum.
By 1 p.m., poll inspector Colleen Swain reported more than 500 people had come to the elementary school to cast a vote.
“Turnout has been good, very good,” she said.
The polls will be open until 8 p.m. at Lulu M. Ross and Benjamin Banneker elementary schools, Milford High School and Morris Early Childhood Center.
Eligible voters must be residents of the school district who are U.S. citizens at least age 18. You do not need to be a registered voter to cast a vote in the referendum.
Milford High School had lower turnout at noon, with poll inspector Shantel Lee reporting 100 people. However, Ms. Lee said she was seeing a high turnout among current high school students.
Despite not having children in the school district anymore — his daughter having already graduated — Dwayne Powell said he voted in favor of the project.
“Voting is my civic duty,” Mr. Powell said. “And this is a priority for our children.”
He said when he was a student in Milford School District, his teachers made sure he had the best education possible. He said adding a new school is then an opportunity to help ensure a new generation of students have a similar educational experience to his.
If approved by voters, the referendum means the former Milford Middle School will be renovated, reconfigured and reopened to serve about 1,000 fifth and sixth grade students.
The project does carry an estimated $57.3 million price tag. The local share of the total cost is about $14.9 million, and, if approved, the district will leverage the state share of about $42.4 million.
That $14.9 million cost and its effect on taxes is what brought Ruth and Gary Peterman to the polls at Milford High School.
Voters are deciding if the school district can increase the debt service portion of the tax rate to fund the project.
Due to a current bond obligation expiring in 2023, district taxpayers will see an initial decrease in that tax rate, even if the referendum is approved. The debt service will increase in year two and three of the project, if approved, but then decline again over the remaining 20-year bond schedule.