Voters approved $18.1 million in school construction in two districts, Burlington Township and West Milford, as special elections took place on Tuesday, Dec. 8. In a third district, North Brunswick, an $87.7 million proposal was defeated.
A total of $105.8 million in school construction proposals, including one to fund two new schools in North Brunswick, went before voters in the three districts. Each of the projects, if approved, would receive state funding to cover part of the cost. The state gives priority to projects that address health and safety, such as roof and window replacement; compliance with construction code and the Americans with Disabilities Act; and some security enhancements.
Under the Educational Facilities and Construction and Financing Act of 2000, the state provides funds, through grants or debt service aid, 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 elections would be in January 2016.
Following is a summary of the Dec. 8 school construction referenda statewide:
Total amount proposed – $105,788,730
Total amount approved – $18,104,107
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement proposed – $15,077,948 (State reimbursement may include up-front construction grants, or payments of annual debt service aid.)
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement approved – $7,718,692
Burlington Township – APPROVED
Renovations and improvements to five schools.
Total amount: $10,114,107
State funds: $4,522,692
North Brunswick – REJECTED
New elementary school, and early childhood center and board offices, to be located on land to be acquired by the school district.
Total amount: $87,684,623
State funds: $7,359,256
West Milford Township – APPROVED
Remove and replace roofs on West Milford High School and Macopin Middle School.
Total amount: $7,990,000
State funds: $3,196,000