Newton officials were taken aback when the Massachusetts School Building Authority dictated how the city should ask voters for a tax increase to pay for new school buildings, but it signaled a years-long transition in the state’s role, from silent partner in school construction projects to active manager. The building authority, which could contribute up to a third of the funding for two new elementary schools, scuttled Mayor Setti Warren’s initial plan to ask for one giant $11.4 million permanent tax increase to pay for two new schools, along with other city infrastructure and staff.
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