Madison taxpayers vote no on school referendum

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — It isn’t November, but the town of Madison has been in full campaign mode and some people – including the Superintendent of Schools — say things have gotten testy in town.

Thomas Scarice says there’s been a campaign to get people to vote no for a plan he says would improve public schools in Madison and they’ve made their sentiments known throughout town with what he calls misleading information on signs and in letters.

“It’s an abject disappointment,” Supt. Scarice said. “A misinformation campaign.”

At issue for voters Tuesday night was whether to approve or reject a $34 million referendum that called for using that money to tear down and replace Ryerson Elementary School. Supt. Scarice says the building is too old (it was built in 1966) and is not ADA compliant and has air quality issues (gets uncomfortably hot inside). He says this referendum is part of a project that’s taken the district three years to study to find the best ways to deal with aging facilities, a decline in student population, and improving future learning. Under the plan, they would also close another elementary school.

Related Content: Capitol Report: Governor Malloy attacks Republican budget plan for education cuts

Voters News 8 spoke with at one polling place had their reservations about greenlighting all of that cash, but they didn’t seem to mind as long as it benefits students.

“It’s a lot of money that’s for sure,” said Mike Doyle, a Madison resident. “But I think our school system needs change, needs to be repaired. The schools that are up and running now need to be in better condition for a better learning environment for the kids.”

“We need to be future thinking and right now the schools are not at that point,” said Lisa Knee, Madison resident.

Some voters tell News 8 there was intense opposition to the proposal. Some residents woke up with “VOTE NO” material stuffed in their mailboxes.

In the end, Superintendent Scarice says kids come first.

“I have not a doubt in my mind that we have one of, if not the best school district in the state and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.

Supt. Scarice told News 8 that the referendum did not pass. The unofficial results are 65 to 35 percent “No.”

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