MARBLEHEAD — The construction of a new Glover School was rejected by voters last week, but backers are hoping to keep the $29 million project alive.
They asked the School Committee on Thursday night to write a letter on behalf of the project and send it to the state, a requirement that would ensure the proposed building would hold its place in line for state funding.
Building committee member Robert Schaeffner said his group believes the school project fell 71 votes short of approval partly because too many other items crowded the override ballot and because voters may not have had enough information.
Ultimately, they hope to bring the project back to voters in the fall, he said.
A plan to do nothing would cost the town more in the long run, Schaeffner told the School Committee. The present 1916 building would need costly repairs and renovation to meet students needs, and they may not get the state to pitch in.
The board unanimously agreed to send the letter, but not before doing its own soul searching.
School Committee Chairwoman Patricia Blackmer said she doesn't want to minimize the voters' decision, but she stressed the present building was deficient. The state's willingness to pay 40 percent of the cost is an opportunity for the community, she said.
"It's not a palace," Blackmer said of the proposed building. "It doesn't have all the bells and whistles."
Kathleen Leonardson said it was worthwhile to go forward with the project, which was rejected last Tuesday, along with nine other ballot questions seeking to override the state's Proposition 21/2 tax limits.
Fellow member EuRim Chun called the failed vote a "wake-up call."
"I think part of it was a missed opportunity," she said. "I think part of it was an assumption."
Colleague Dick Nohelty said backers needed to reach out to those who voted no and find out why.
Committee member Jonathan Lederman said there had been a series of missteps by the School Department that had worn away public confidence.