Braintree voters approve 1st new school since 1970s

BRAINTREE, Mass. (AP) — The town of Braintree has approval to build its first new school since the 1970s after voters passed a tax increase for the measure in a special election on Saturday.

Nearly 75% of voters supported a measure allowing the town to borrow $86.5 million to build a new middle school, the Patriot Ledger reports. The town has not built a new school since Braintree High School opened in the 1970s.

The new South Middle School is planned to open in 2023. Mayor Charles Kokoros called it "a historic victory” for the town.

“Our residents have rallied together over the past eight months and with this vote have shown a commitment in the future of our children and community as a whole,” Kokoros said in a statement.

Voters also approved three smaller tax increases tied to school improvements. The measures will provide $5 million to replace roofs at district elementary schools, $1.5 million for a feasibility study on the redevelopment of Braintree High School, and $1 million for school safety improvements.

The special election was originally scheduled for March but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.