Belmont Holding Training Sessions On High School Ballot Question, Open Meeting Update

Photo: Questions on the ballot this November.

It will be the largest “ask” of voters in Belmont’s history when a debt exclusion question authorizing approximately $220 million to build a new Belmont High and Upper Middle schools will likely be presented on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Because of its historic nature of the question, between now and November, members of Belmont’s boards, committees, and commissions will likely be questions on basic information, data, opinions, and “fact sheets” related to the project from voters, ballot campaign question committees, the media, or just interested residents.

According to Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, answers related to the ballot question are governed by several Massachusetts General Laws.

To aid volunteers and employees in making choices related to this ballot question, Cushman has arranged a pair of training sessions by the State Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF) personnel on Tuesday, July 17 at Chenery Middle School auditorium.

The session for boards, committees and commissions members will be held at 7 p.m. in the early evening, while town employees will attend a session at 3 p.m.

At the same training session, Belmont Town Counsel George Hall of the firm Anderson & Kreiger, will hold a question and answer session on his recent advisory to Belmont on the Open Meeting Law determination and Supreme Judicial Court decision. 

“It’s about getting everyone on the same page of the law,” said Cushman. 

Cushman anticipates the OCPF training to last approximately one hour, the Open Meeting Law portion to last about 45 minutes.

“Even if you don’t believe that you will be asked to comment or provide any information on this ballot question, I ask you to consider attending this scheduled one-hour training, for your knowledge and protection. You need to know the laws that apply to you as a member of our boards, committees, and commissions,” said Cushman

Between now and the training session, you may want to take a quick view of some brief educational videos provided by OCPF, each one about five minutes, to get you started thinking about the topic:

  • Click here for the ballot question committee tutorial.
  • Click here for the tutorial on equal access.
  • Click here for the tutorial on the use of public resources for political purposes.

If you have a specific question or clarification related to his advisory opinion, please email it to me in by Friday, July 12.  

“I’ll gather all of the submissions ahead of the session and forward them to George to help focus the presentation. Of course, questions from the floor will be welcomed as well,” said Cushman. 

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