LETTER: Yes on 5 Committee Says CPA Won’t Harm School Funding


The Community Preservation Act (CPA) does not compete with school funding. To the contrary, it will strengthen our schools and the education we offer Watertown’s children.  

Imagine an “outdoor classroom” of restored open space and buildings where teachers and students study how Watertown was settled, using historic maps and artifacts that bring learning alive. All of this would qualify for CPA funding and for matching state funds and grants that Watertown would otherwise be unable to get. And affordable housing programs funded by the CPA would make it possible for our teachers to live in Watertown and spend more time with students instead of long hours commuting.

The CPA will also free up funds for school renovations and construction. Past expenditures on Victory Field, Filippello Park, and playgrounds at the schools themselves could have been covered by CPA funds. If Watertown votes Yes on 5, these and other projects will no longer compete with the schools for limited town capital funds.

The school department and the town are working hard to figure out what to do about our school buildings. While there is agreement that our school buildings need to be modernized or perhaps even replaced, it will take time to determine exactly what to do and how much it will cost. Once the town settles on a plan, it will take still longer to secure funding from the state’s School Building Authority.

In the meantime, voting Yes on 5 means we can start claiming the state CPA match now and invest in parks and playing fields, open space, affordable housing, and Watertown’s historical heritage in ways that will benefit the schools and all of us. When we have a school building plan, the fact that the town is funding other projects through the CPA and taking those expenditures off its capital budget will strengthen our case for state funding and with the bond markets.

Let’s not create a false choice between the CPA and our schools. They’re not in competition. They go hand-in-hand in making Watertown a better place to live. Other towns like Waltham have adopted the CPA and built new schools at the same time. Watertown can too!

Vote Yes on Question 5. Go online to InvestInWatertown.org and CommunityPreservation.org for details.

-Invest in Watertown Steering Committee

4 thoughts on “LETTER: Yes on 5 Committee Says CPA Won’t Harm School Funding

  1. The MSBA will only fund one building and the current Statement of Interest is for the high school. All five schools need renovations. The Master Plan will be finalized shortly and at the August Community Forum identified the costs to range from approximately $165M to $400M depending on the options chosen. I have spoken with several school committee members and several town councilors, decisions on funding will be made in the next few years, not in 5 or 10 years as many suggest.

    The CPA has worthwhile goals, but the timing isn’t right. Secure the school funding first, then we can have a conversation about the merits of the CPA. It can be put back on the ballot by a majority vote of the town council, or by gathering the required number of signatures.

  2. Councilor, your minds made up. That’s so unfortunate. That you and I can afford this is positively irrelevant. Many can’t. What about them? Even if there wasn’t a school vote coming up (and either you know there is or you’re uninformed) What about the thousands, of YOUR constituents who cant afford this, yet make too much for an exemption? Yes, the ever shrinking middle class you’re supposed to represent and care about too?? This shrinks them even more. These pesky facts the CPA folks leave out are quite frustrating. Fact is 30 % of Single and 2 family homes are , in layman’s terms “house poor” meaning over 30% of THEIR income goes to rent/mortgage. Would you like to go tell what amounts to the heads of the household of 5000 dwellings that they now have to part with what amounts to over $500.00 dollars minimum, no mater how you slice and dice it??Doesn’t sound as good as 10 bucks a month does it? We have no idea what these family’s have to budget for. FIVE.THOUSAND.HOMES.Do you have a crystal ball as to what gas will cost the next few years? Inflation??Cost of living?? Regular tax increases? Rent increases?Family Emergencies? They add up to more than 10 bucks a month. Why isn’t Investinwatertown trying to raise this money privately? Many are admittedly well heeled. Why not hire a development person and solicit those who CAN afford this?? I find your efforts to try and to pitch this on the merits and mechanism alone, aside from the realities that surround you, not only unconscionable, but an affront to working families, and children, who will have to learn in sub par facilitates for yet another generation.

  3. It would be great if the good councilor replied to the skeptics but he just ploughs on, ignoring a very obvious concern/crises in our schools. I’m in the risk business. This is as far out as you can go from a risk/reward perspective. I know of no business that would risk so much, for more of what we already have, at the expense of what we so desperately need.

  4. I love it ! An out door classroom! That’s because the school buildings will be falling down and indoor classrooms will be too dangerous!…. Thanks for inspiring a whole column !!

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