The Bethel Board of Finance has opted to move forward with a public hearing on school renovation projects even though the state budget situtation is still unsettled. The Rockwell and Johnson School improvements could be partially paid for by the state. About 45-percent of the $68 million renovation is eligible for state reimbursement.
The school construction money is different than the Education Cost Sharing Grant money, which Governor Malloy has proposed cancelling for 85 municipalities, including Bethel.
The hearing will be on the 25th. A Special Town Meeting was set for October 10th, but the Boards of Selectmen and Finance can cancel that if state aid isn't there.
A referendum could be held on October 17th. Another protection was built into the approvals process. The language of the referendum will be written in a way where the town is not on the hook for doing the renovations if the state doesn't award a grant for the work, or can move forward with just one of the projects.
A referendum has to be held before November 15th in order to be eligible for the priority list.
Rockwell was built in 1971 and Johnson in 1980.