In a 4504-558 decision, voters approved the referendum on Saturday that would allocate $49.25 million in state funds to Newtown in order to build a brand-new Sandy Hook. The original school, where 20 students and six faculty members were killed last December, will be torn down and a memorial put in its place.
The funding will not need to be repaid in the form of taxes by the town. Instead, it is a gift from the state of Connecticut in "an attempt on the part of the state to make Newtown whole," says interim school superintendent John Reed.
"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 town's local paper, the Newtown Bee. "Accepting this funding will allow the town of Newtown to once again be made whole."
Debbie Leidlein of the Newtown Board of Education says the school will likely be demolished early next year, and the new school is scheduled to start construction sometime in the spring. If the school is rebuilt by the school board's goal, students will return to Sandy Hook in early 2015 or begin a new school year there the following fall.
Since the shooting, Sandy Hook students have been attending school about 10 miles away at Chalk Hill Elementary in nearby Monroe, Conn.
"I'm delighted with this overwhelming show of support for Sandy Hook," Selectman Jim Gaston said, according to UPI, "and a major step forward in the healing process and bringing our children home."