Newton for Everyone to host meeting about new housing and school budgets

Newton recently went through a two-week teachers’ strike in the middle of a housing crisis, and now Newton for Everyone, a local nonprofit group that promotes housing diversity in Newton, is hoping people see the connection between the two.

The group will host a community information session on May 30 focusing on how—with Proposition 2 1/2 limiting the city’s ability to raise more funds for the schools via property tax rate adjustments—new housing and growth can bring more money for the city and the schools.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek/Second Church, 60 Highland St., West Newton. IT will also be on Zoom for those who want to attend remotely.

How does state law limit the city’s tax levy and how does that affect the schools? How would adding more housing help shore up school funding? Does new housing use more resources than the added tax revenues would bring? Would more housing mean bigger class sizes in the schools? These are just a few questions that may be asked or that you can ask for yourself.

Housing in Newton—for both rentals and sales—has become more and more expensive, especially in Greater Boston, and the median home price in Newton last year was a staggering $1.7 million. And this winter, teachers were on strike for two weeks demanding the rising needs of the district be met.

The backdrop of this was a months-long fight over village center rezoning and a debate on whether Newton needs more housing stock.

Proposition 2 1/2 puts a 2.5 percent limit on how much a city can increase its total tax levy by, except new growth, so higher prices don’t translate into a relative boost to the city’s budget as much as new growth can.

The May 30 meeting will feature two guest speakers:

  • Elise Rapoza, Author of “New Housing Production in Massachusetts: Fiscal Dynamics and Community Implications” and MassINC’s senior research associate who has studied the fiscal impact of housing in Massachusetts.
  • Luc Shuster, executive director of Boston Indicators, which provides data-driven insights to support policymakers, community leaders and advocates.

Newton for Everyone is inviting guests to register and bring their friends. Register for in-person attendance here, and for Zoom attendance here.