Voters in five New Jersey school districts approved $42 million in school construction proposals on Jan. 26, including security enhancements, heating system renovations and athletic facility improvements. Construction proposals appeared on ballots in six districts, in five counties: Burlington, Cape May, Hunterdon, Monmouth and Union. All of the approved projects will receive state funding to cover part of the cost, through grants or debt service aid or both.
In addition, in one district, Lakewood, in Ocean County, voters defeated a question that sought to authorize raising an extra $6.2 million in taxes for student busing. The fourth Tuesday in January 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 elections is in March.
Following is a summary of the six school construction proposals that were on the ballot Jan. 26:
Total amount proposed – $62,034,392
Total amount approved – $42,038,644
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement proposed – $22,388,369 (State reimbursement may include up-front construction grants, or payments of annual debt service aid.)
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement approved – $17,260,221
EDGEWATER PARK – APPROVED
Improvements and renovations to three schools, including resurfacing playground; renovating HVAC system; installing security cameras; replacing interior doors; improving Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility.
Total amount: $16,169,208
State funds: $8,037,447
CAPE MAY COUNTY
LOWER TOWNSHIP ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT– APPROVED
Various improvements to three schools.
Total amount: $5,121,473
State funds: $2,048,589
LOWER CAPE MAY REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT – APPROVED
New roofs, enhanced security, electrical upgrade at middle and high school, plus locker room renovations and a new high school field house.
Total amount: $6,367,963
State funds: $1,422,185
READINGTON – APPROVED
Parking lot, driveway and/or entrance improvements to three schools.
State funds: $712,000
Two-part proposal, totaling $19,995,748, to include renovations, alterations and improvements at Manasquan high school and elementary schools, plus an addition at Manasquan High School.
Proposal 1 – REJECTED: Renovations, alterations and improvements to both schools, including Manasquan High School addition.
State funds: $5,128,148
Proposal 2 – REJECTED: Athletic facility renovations, alterations and improvements at Manasquan High School.
Two-part proposal, totaling $12,600,000, for various improvements at district schools.
Proposal 1 – APPROVED: Renovations, alterations and improvements at ten schools, plus Kehler Field House and the Westfield Board of Education offices.
State funds: $3,440,000
Proposal 2 – APPROVED: Renovations, alterations and improvements to the auditoriums at Edison Intermediate and Roosevelt Intermediate schools.
State funds: $1,600,000
LAKEWOOD QUESTION – REJECTED
Voters in Lakewood are asked whether the district should raise an additional $6.2 million in taxes to provide non-mandated transportation services for public and non-public students. Approval of the question will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy. The proposed expenditures “are in addition to those necessary to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards.”