Voters in five New Jersey school districts approved school construction proposals in special elections held on Tuesday, March 13, approving a total $105,687,371 in projects including school additions and renovations; HVAC replacements and improvements; and more. In three other school districts, proposals were defeated.
Construction bond issues were on the ballot in five counties: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Middlesex and Sussex. Most of the proposed construction projects, if approved, would have been partially supported by state funds.
In addition to the construction proposals, voters in two districts selected board members in special elections. In Orange, Essex County, voters selected two additional school board members. The special election followed voter approval, in November 2017, to change the township’s school board from an appointed to an elected body. The move requires expansion of the board from seven to nine members. Finally, in a special election in Bass River, Burlington County, voters voted for one member of the school board
The second Tuesday in March 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 will be in September, although districts that conduct school board elections in April may also hold bond referendums on that day (April 17.)
Following is a summary of proposals on the March 13 ballot:
Total amount proposed – $219,213,043
Total amount approved — $105,687,371
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement – $38,567,906 (State reimbursement is made through payment of annual debt service aid.)
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement approved — $27,443,450
East Rutherford — REJECTED
Renovations and improvements to three school buildings, an addition to Faust Intermediate School.
Total project cost: $30,971,400
State funds: $5,135,593
Fair Lawn — APPROVED
Additions and renovations to middle schools, and upgrading of the HVAC system at the high school auditorium.
Total project cost: $25,000,000
State funds: $4,509,071
Park Ridge — BOTH PROPOSALS APPROVED
Two proposals addressing heating and ventilation/air conditioning in the high school. (Proposal 1 must pass, for Proposal 2 to be approved.)
Conversion of steam heat to hot water heat in the older portion of the high school.
Total project cost: $2,800,000
State funds: $1,120,000
Proposal 2 (Contingent upon approval of Proposal 1)
Replacement of unit ventilators and installation of air conditioning in the high school’s A-Wing.
Total project cost: $798,466
State funds: $319,386
Northern Burlington County Regional — APPROVED
Improvements including construction of an addition connecting “east” and “west” buildings of the high school complex; renovations and improvements to instructional space; new science labs, technology labs, agriculture and media instructional space; and other improvements.
Total project cost: $39,760,000
State funds: $10,378,491
Collingswood — REJECTED
Upgrades and construction of a new athletic complex, and an addition at the middle high school complex; and rehabilitation of playgrounds at elementary schools.
Total project cost: $13,708,727
State funds: $720,143
Pennsauken — APPROVED
New classroom additions, window and door replacements, construction of new field house, and new main entrance and security vestibule at high school; other renovations and improvements.
Total project cost: $35,669,908
State funds: $10,452,942
Monroe Township — REJECTED
New middle school on land at 254 Applegarth Road, Monroe, which the municipality transferred to the board of education at no cost.
Total project cost: $68,845,545
State funds: $5,265,717
Green Township — BOTH PROPOSALS APPROVED
Two-part proposal for work at Green Hills School. Proposal I must pass for Proposal II to pass.
Roof replacement at Green Hills School.
Total project cost: $1,091,000
State funds: $436,382
Proposal 2 (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Acquisition and installation of ventilators, air conditioners and ADA improvements at Green Hills School.
Total project cost: $568,000
State funds: $227,178
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.