These 11 districts are asking NJ voters to approve major school improvements
Voters in Montclair will decide Tuesday whether to approve a $187.7 million school construction proposal that would include a new addition for one high school, a greenhouse for another school and other improvements to older buildings of the public schools of the district.
The suburban Essex County school district’s ballot question is the largest of 11 school construction plans, totaling $398.7 million, that are on Election Day ballots across the state, according to the School Boards Association of New Jersey. (See a complete list of school building questions below.)
Some districts are asking voters to approve borrowing to finance school additions, new heating and air conditioning systems, bathrooms, cafeterias, roofs, gyms, improved sports fields and other projects. The projects would include $127.8 million in state funding, if approved.
Two counties, Delran and Metuchen, are splitting their proposals into multiple questions for voters.
Voters in four counties — Delanco, Metuchen, Ocean Township and Montgomery — will also decide on ballot questions that would permanently raise the tax to fund teachers, staff and other costs in local schools.
Four other districts — Port Republic, Stow Creek, Trenton and Bedminster — are asking voters to approve plans to change how their school boards are structured or how many members sit on their boards of education.
Voter turnout is likely to be higher during November’s high-profile election than on the other five dates New Jersey voters are set to go to the polls to decide school construction bond referendums.
So far this year, voters have approved most school questions on their ballots.
More than 86% — or 38 of 44 — of the referendums put before voters in January, March, April and October were approved, according to reports compiled by the New Jersey School Boards Association. All 11 local ballot referendums last month passed, including a $363 million spending plan in Cherry Hill.
The sixth day of school ballot questions will be held during the last day of school elections in December.
The proposed $187.7 million spending plan in Montclair, a K-12 district, includes infrastructure improvements at all 11 schools. The bulk, $75.7 million, would go toward improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, according to a summary on the county’s website.
In promoting the plan, district officials noted that six of Montclair’s public schools are at least 100 years old.
“Montclair’s aging school buildings are in need of critical and long overdue repairs to meet health, safety, building code regulations and especially to meet our educational standards,” said board president Latifah Jannah School during a community forum on September 29.
If approved, the average home in Montclair — currently assessed at $628,952 — would pay an average of about $732 a year in additional school taxes over 24 years. However, that figure would fluctuate because the board would split the total between three different bonds — in 2023, 2025 and 2027 — with 20-year repayment plans.
In the first year, with only one bond in play, the additional tax would be $258, local officials said.
District officials countered any criticism of the award, saying the money would improve the quality of school buildings and increase property values.
Montclair will also receive $31 million in state school construction aid if the project wins approval.
Here’s a summary of 11 school district spending proposals, as provided by the New Jersey School Boards Association:
The school board is proposing two questions, both of which must be approved for the projects to move forward:
The total amount of the connection: $9,298,242
state funds: $4,314,384
The proposal includes renovations, alterations and improvements to school facilities consisting of roof replacement, interior door replacement, ceiling replacement and HVAC and electrical construction at Millbridge Elementary School, as well as electrical construction at Delran Middle School. Delran Middle School and Delran High School. , including purchase and installation of equipment and fixtures and related labor and costs.
Total connection amount: $2,759,453
State funds: $1,111,203
The proposal includes restroom reconstruction at Millbridge Elementary School to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, improvements to HVAC controls at Delran High School, a new parking lot, additional ceiling and floor replacement at Delran High School, and improvements to the culinary art facilities in Delran. Gymnasium.
Total connection amount: $3,977,066
State funds: $1,590,827
The proposal includes renovating the HVAC system and replacing windows at Downe Township Elementary School.
Total bond amount: $5,860,538
State funds: $870,684
The proposal includes various improvements to Myron L. Powell Elementary School, including the construction of an addition.
Total connection amount: $187,730,760
State funds: $68,832,787
The proposal includes renovations, changes and improvements at Montclair Middle School, George Innes Middle School Annex, Buzz Aldrin Middle School, Glenfield Middle School, Renaissance at Rand Middle School, Bradford Elementary School, Charles H. Bullock School, Edgemont Elementary School, Hillside Elementary School, Nishuane Elementary School, Northeast Elementary School, Watchung Elementary School, Montclair Pre-K School, Woodman Field and Administration Building, a Renaissance addition to Rand Middle School and a new greenhouse at Charles H. Bullock.
Clearview Regional High School District
Total connection amount: $59,094,000
State funds: 23 205 600 dollars
The proposal includes renovations and improvements to Clearview Regional Middle School and Clearview Regional High School.
North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District
Total connection amount: $6,500,000
state funds: $2,600,000
The proposal includes upgrades and improvements to North Hunterdon High School, including the HVAC system, locker room and restroom renovations; and improvement at Voorhees High School.
City of Delaware
Total connection amount: $1,350,000
State funds: $540,000
The proposal includes the repair and replacement of parts of the roof in Delaware Township Elementary School.
County of Middlesex
The school board proposes three questions:
Total connection amount: $69,482,187
State funding: $11,926,791
The proposal includes additions, renovations, alterations and improvements to Moss Elementary School, Campbell Elementary School, Edgar Middle School and Metuchen Middle School, including equipment, furnishings and fixtures. If approved, it will only take effect if Question 2 is approved.
If approved, it would raise an additional $800,000 to the general fund in the 2022-2023 school year to cover costs required for grade level reconfiguration, including full-day kindergarten, additional costs for salaries, benefits and/or other compensations. If approved, it will only take effect if Question 1 is approved.
Total connection amount: $12,754,038
State funding: $403,361
The proposal includes an additional gym and related facilities at Metuchen High School, including improvements to the field and athletic facilities. If approved, it will only take effect if Question 1 and Question 2 are approved.
Monmouth Regional High School District
Total bond amount: $15,025,000
State funds: $4,337,500
The proposal includes upgrades and improvements to Monmouth Regional High School, including athletic facilities.
Total bond amount: $2,636,438
State funding: $0
The proposal includes upgrades and improvements to Salem High School Stadium, including the construction of a concession building and restroom facilities, the purchase and installation of bleachers and a scoreboard.
Total bond amount: $22,191,122
State funds: $8,042,449
The proposal includes renovations and improvements to Salt Brook Elementary School, Allen W. Roberts Elementary School and New Providence Middle School/High School.
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Rob Jennings can be reached at [email protected].