At a town hall meeting Wednesday night, the residents of Newtown, Conn., voted to use $750,000 in grant money to begin construction on a new Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The grant money comes as an advance from $50 million in funding provided by the state of Connecticut. After a quick meeting, the overflow crowd of about 200 approved the spending by a unanimous voice vote, according to The News-Times of Danbury, over a month after the the advance actually became available, on June 18.
The vote allows the preliminary steps of construction—planning and design—to move forward before having access to the remaining $49.25 million in October, pending another town vote. (Alexis de Tocqueville aficionados will recognize the New England love of town hall meetings.)
This is about the only good recent news about funding for Newtown, Conn., eight months after a massacre at the previous Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 27 dead, including 20 children. Several charities began accepting donations for Newtown, but the town and state have squabbled over the distribution of those funds as determined by a Newtown community foundation.
Here’s the total breakdown of money made available to Newtown since the December attack:
Things got more difficult on Friday, when the U.S. senators for Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, called for an audit of the $11 million that the foundation oversees. The same day, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block an amendment by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) to the Student Success Act, passed later that day, that would have made Newtown eligible for federal money for school construction.
A task force voted to demolish the old school earlier this year.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.