Voters in three New Jersey school districts went to the polls on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to act on $125.8 million in school construction proposals, including school renovations, expansions, additions and other improvements. One proposal, in Westwood Regional, was approved.
Construction proposals were decided in two school districts in Bergen County, East Rutherford and Westwood Regional, and in the Nutley School District in Essex County. Each of the projects, if approved, would have received state funding to cover part of the cost. Under the Educational Facilities and Construction and Financing Act of 2000, the state provides funds to cover at least 40 percent of eligible school construction costs.
The second Tuesday in December is one of five dates on which a school board may propose a bond issue or special question to voters. The next date available for special school elections will be in January.
Following is a summary of construction projects statewide:
Total amount proposed – $125,879,669
Total amount approved — $23,891,520
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement – $18,856,085 (State reimbursement is made through the payment of annual debt service aid.)
Total state reimbursement approved — $4,357,154
East Rutherford — REJECTED
Renovations and alterations, including construction of a three-story addition adjacent to Faust Intermediate School.
Total amount: $31,560,400
State funds: $5,142,593
Westwood Regional — APPROVED
School facilities renovation and expansion to create a middle school housing grades 6, 7 and 8, including construction of new instructional spaces, existing facilities renovations and site improvements.
Total amount: $23,891,520
District capital reserve: $13,097,000 (The $13,097,000 first-year payment from district capital reserve would produce an initial state debt service aid payment to the district of approximately $2,891,000. This state aid allotment would also be applied to the first-year payment. As a result, the district would have only $8,035,520 in outstanding debt after the first year.)
Total state funds: $4,357,154
Nutley — REJECTED
Additions, renovations, alterations and improvements to four schools, including the demolition of temporary classroom units at two elementary schools.
Total amount: $70,427,749
State funds: $9,356,338