The Cape Elizabeth School Board next week will consider a committee recommendation that the town address problems with its aging and overcrowded schools through renovations and additions rather than with a new building.

The town’s School Building Advisory Committee voted 5-4 last week to recommend the renovations and additions to the elementary and middle schools, “Option B,” with a budget range of $77.3 million to $85.5 million. The decision did not go over well with many residents attending that meeting.

Committee members David Andrews, Larry Benoit and Michael Hussey and Town Council representatives Penny Jordan and Tim Thompson voted in favor.

Committee members Corinne Bell and Patrick Cotter and School Board representatives Caitlin Sweet and Cynthia Voltz instead supported “Option E,” which calls for the construction of a new middle school with additions and renovations to the elementary school. That proposal was voted down, 5-4, along the same lines.

The School Board, which will hold a workshop on the committee’s recommendation Tuesday, must approve the proposal and the Town Council will have to sign off on it before it goes to a public vote in November.

The two design options the committee voted on last week rose above a total of seven under consideration over the past five months. Both also include renovations at the high school. Option E would cost an estimated $109.9 million to $118 million. Committee members who supported that plan proposed spending $90 million to $95 million, with $15 million to be fundraised toward the new school portion.


The public contributed to the conversation at the nearly six-hour May 9 committee meeting, both before and after the vote. After, the majority of residents who spoke were disappointed in the committee’s decision not to build a new school.

A $116 million proposal that voters rejected in November 2022 called for a new elementary and a new middle school, currently combined in one building. Many voters who opposed that project said at the time they would have preferred renovations and additions at a lower cost.

“(Option) B is not a compromise,” Matt Grymek said. “You know what a compromise between building two new schools and no new school is? One, which is what (Option) E was.”

Carrie Gilbert said the committee’s recommendation is “very, very, very shortsighted.”

“It seems like we’re saving a very small amount of money to again be in this process in, what seems to me, like five years,” she said. “I don’t think this project is a good use of our money.”

Eliza Matheson said she was disappointed that education was not at the forefront for much of the May 9 discussion.


“We talked about baseball fields and multipurpose fields when we should be talking about our students’ education,” Matheson said. “I don’t care where a baseball field is. I care about the equity of the education in this town and every one of our students having access to what they need, what they deserve, and what they are legally entitled to.”

Jen Bodenrader said she is concerned that Option B will result in far more student disruption than Option E, and keeping the disruption to learning at a minimum is a priority of the School Board and school staff.

“I don’t know how the School Board can vote ‘yes,'” she said. “You set them up to vote ‘no.'”

For more information on the Option B recommendation, go to

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