A $27 million expansion for two Westbrook schools will be voted up or down on the November ballot.

The Westbrook City Council sent the question to referendum with a unanimous vote, 7-0, Monday night. The money would pay for a renovation and 12 new classrooms at Saccarappa Elementary School, as well as 12 new classrooms at Westbrook Middle School. The school committee voted unanimously in favor of the plan last month.

“Our building project is something that is absolutely necessary for the children who are in our schools right now, and the children who are coming to our community,” newly appointed Superintendent Peter Lancia told the City Council at a public hearing in August.

Residents have voiced support for the expansion at public hearings, citing the five portable classrooms currently needed at the elementary schools. But as developers like the Risbara Bros. eye Westbrook for new housing developments, locals have also worried the new classrooms won’t be enough to accommodate incoming children. Lancia has said the schools can handle future growth, which the district has predicted to be 331 additional students by 2025.

He also told the council only three new staff members would be needed to staff the expanded buildings – an administrative assistant, a custodian and a cafeteria worker.

“Initially, the growth at Saccarappa would be addressed by reassigning teachers from other schools,” he wrote in a report to the City Council. “Any additional teaching positions would be requested through our annual budgeting process as enrollment increases.”

Documents related to the school expansion are available online as part of the City Council agenda and on the school department website. The election is Nov. 8.


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