Voters in 11 New Jersey school districts went to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to act on more than $160.2 million in school construction and renovation projects, including new STEAM (science, technology, education, arts, and mathematics) learning labs and classrooms, security enhancements, and roof replacement.
In nine of the districts, projects were approved.
Several districts put forth multi-part referenda, including the School District of the Chathams, where voters approved six separate questions, including two additions.
A total of $160,220,130 in construction appeared on ballots in eight counties. Most of those approved will receive state funding to cover part of the cost. Under the Educational Facilities and Construction and Financing Act of 2000, the state will fund at least 40 percent of eligible school construction costs through annual debt service aid.
The last Tuesday in September is one of five dates on which a school board may propose a bond issue to voters. For the remainder of 2016, construction proposals may be placed on the November General Election ballot (for those districts that elect school board members in November) and in December.
A district-by-district summary of the special elections is as follows:
Total amount proposed – $160,220,130
Total amount approved — $119,101,230
Total state funds proposed – $42,415,307 (State reimbursement through annual debt service aid equaling at least 40% of eligible costs)
Total state funds approved — $37,829,202
SOMERS POINT — APPROVED
Renovations, alterations and improvements at three elementary schools. Proposal includes HVAC, plumbing and lighting upgrades and replacement of lockers.
Total amount: $9,235,000
State funds: $3,694,000
MILLBURN — APPROVED
Acquisition of school building originally owned by the local district and most recently operated by a county special services school district. The building would be renovated for use as a Fifth Grade Academy. Proposal also includes additions to the high school and middle school, and renovations, alterations, building system improvements and media center improvements at five elementary schools and the district education center.
Total amount: $25,593,176
State funds: $7,618,198
DEPTFORD TOWNSHIP — REJECTED
Addition to middle school, including 16 classrooms, science lab and music room; renovations and improvements to high school and middle school
Total amount: $34,472,176
State funds: $4,586,105
HARRISON TOWNSHIP — APPROVED
Repair and/or replacement of roof at Harrison Township Elementary School
Total amount: $5,326,577
State funds: $2,130,630
HOPEWELL VALLEY REGIONAL — APPROVED
Addition of arts and wellness education space at high school; renovations and repairs at high school and five elementary schools, including roof replacement, HVAC upgrades, and health and safety improvements.
Total amount: $35,855,000
State funds: $10,437,400
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CHATHAMS — ALL APPROVED
Six separate questions calling for various renovations, additions, and health and safety improvements
Total Amount (all proposals): $15,864,300
State funds: $3,815,658
High School auditorium improvements (replacement of seating, lighting, furnishing and HVAC)
State funds: $1,400,000
Middle School auditorium improvements (seating, lighting, furnishing, HVAC and asbestos removal)
State funds: $1,520,000
Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering arts, mathematics) education addition
Athletic field improvements
Milton Avenue School addition (K-3 classroom space)
State funds: $281,538
Partial roof replacement at High School, Middle School and Lafayette Avenue School
State funds: $614,120
MORRIS PLAINS — ALL APPROVED
Two separate questions addressing renovations and improvements at two elementary schools
Total amount (both proposals): $6,242,775
State funds: $2,497,109
Energy-efficiency and security improvements at the Borough School and Mountain Way School
State funds: $2,085,577
Auditorium renovations at Borough School to provide for ADA compliance, large group instruction and community events.
State funds: $411,532
MOUNT OLIVE — ALL REJECTED
Two questions related to the establishment of a full-day kindergarten program: (1) a “Bond Proposal” to fund an addition at an elementary school, and (2) an “Additional Funds Proposal” for a tax levy increase to pay salary and benefits for additional teaching staff to implement full-day kindergarten. Both questions must be approved for the program to go forward.
Proposal 1: Bond Issue (contingent upon voter approval of Additional Funds Proposal)
A 14-classroom addition to the Sandshore Elementary School to distribute students more evenly throughout the district and enable accommodation of full-day kindergarten
Proposal 2: Additional Funds (contingent upon voter approval of Bond Proposal)
An additional $807,620 in General Funds to be raised through the tax levy to fund salaries and befits for teaching staff
TUCKERTON — APPROVED
Educational and safety improvements to the Tuckerton Elementary School, including addition of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) lab, relocation of school offices to control access to building, ADA compliance, and parking lot reconfiguration to enable discharge and pick-up of students on school property
Total amount: $3,636,121
State funds: $1,286,726
Transfer from district capital reserve: $250,000
FRANKFORD — APPROVED
Improvements to the Frankford School, including construction security vestibules, and repair/replacement of portions of roof and fascias
Total amount: $1,463,216
State funds: $585,286
NEW PROVIDENCE — APPROVED
Renovations, alterations and improvements to two elementary schools and Middle/High School. Proposal includes creation of STEM education labs and classrooms, additional classrooms and small-group instructional areas, creation of a Universal Science Lab in the high school, various safety, infrastructure and ADA projects.
Total amount: $15,885,065
State funds: $5,764,195