|Newtown Votes to Rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary|
|By GILLIAN MOHNEY (@gillianmohney) and ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Oct 6, 2013, 11:19 AM|
The residents of Newtown, Conn., voted to raze and rebuild the Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed in December of last year. The town will be allotted $50 million in state funds to rebuild the school.
A new facility will be built away from the initial site so that a memorial could be built in its place.
Residents had to vote on the referendum to approve the gift, in accordance with the town charter's rules.
On Saturday, 4,504 people voted for the grant offer and 558 against, according to The Associated Press.
After the vote the Newtown Board of Education thanked residents via twitter.
"Thank you Newtown Voters for showing up at the polls, in force, to accept the State offer to pay for building Sandy Hook School!," the board posted to their twitter account.
Weston Public Schools Interim School Superintendent John Reed told The Newtown Bee the funding "comes without strings."
"It does not have to be repaid, it has no impact on the tax rate," he said. "It is an attempt on the part of the state to make Newtown whole. That means we had seven schools when we started school year last year, and I think it's the state's judgment that we have seven schools now."
Community support for the new school appears to be high.
"As we look to bring home our Sandy Hook School community, it is critical to have a school building that will allow them to stay together," the Newtown Board of Education said in a letter to The Newtown Bee. "Accepting this funding will allow the town of Newtown to once again be made whole."
"The people of Newtown decided that building a new Sandy Hook Elementary School is an important step onward for their children and their community," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a statement on Sept. 24. "This funding is another way the state is continuing the unwavering support our citizens and our government have shown for them since that dark day that still affects us all."
Students who would be attending Sandy Hook Elementary School this year are being transported to nearby Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn.
Newtown Board of Education member Debbie Leidlein told ABCNews.com that the community has been fortunate to be able to use a school in such close proximity, but it isn't the same.
"We're very anxious to bring our Sandy Hook School families back into Newtown," she said.
The school will likely be demolished in the next few months and the new construction will begin in the spring according to Leidlein.
"The goal is to get them into the school either in the beginning of 2015 or that next fall," she said.