Voters in five of seven New Jersey school districts who went to the polls yesterday to act on $140.5 million in school construction proposals approved at least a portion of the projects, including a new $28.1 million school in Edison that will replace an elementary school which was destroyed by fire last year.
But in one district, Wayne, where a $4.8 million security enhancement project was narrowly defeated, officials say they are awaiting results of provisional ballots to be counted on Friday, to determine if those ballots will result in approval. In unofficial results, Wayne’s proposal was defeated by a vote of 924 to 905.
In Greater Egg Harbor Regional, however, where one of three ballot questions was closely approved, officials Wednesday morning were cautiously optimistic that final tallies of absentee ballots will uphold the victory at the polls. That measure passed 2,674 votes to 2,554, a 120-vote margin.
Only Northern Valley Regional voters defeated a construction proposal outright.
The construction proposals around the state included classroom and lab renovations; enhancements to security, HVAC, lighting systems and technology infrastructure; roof replacements; and athletic field improvements. Special elections took place in seven counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex, Monmouth and Passaic.
In Edison, the proposal to replace James Monroe Elementary School came almost exactly one year after the school was destroyed by fire, in March 2014. Funding for the project will include $9.4 million in insurance proceeds and $3.87 million in state funding.
Most of the other approved construction projects will also receive some state funding, either through grants, debt service aid, or both.
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 would be in September, although districts that hold school board elections in April may also hold bond referendums then.
Following is a summary of the school construction proposals on the ballot March 10:
Total amount proposed – $140,532,779
Total amount approved – $86,874,907
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement – $48,374,277 (State reimbursement may include up-front construction grants, or payments of annual debt service aid.)
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement, approved – $32,161,817
GREATER EGG HARBOR REGIONAL
Three-part proposal to upgrade three high schools totals $52.1 million, with $19.4 million available in state funds if approved. Proposal 1 must be approved for either of the other two proposals to pass.
Proposal 1: APPROVED – Upgrading heating, air conditioning, lighting, technology infrastructure at Absegami, Cedar Creek and Oakcrest high schools.
Total amount: $20,300,590
State funds: $11,060,878
Proposal 2: DEFEATED – Academic program area improvements and additional renovations, includes new library at Oakcrest and new band room addition at Absegami.
Total amount: $26,038,555
State funds: $8,089,986
Proposal 3: DEFEATED – Athletic improvements, including artificial turf fields at all three schools.
Total amount: $5,818,800
State funds: $229,166
NORTHERN VALLEY REGIONAL – DEFEATED
Renovations, upgrades of Demarest and Old Tappan high schools, including new STEM and physics labs, athletic enhancements and upgraded security systems. Also, construction of a new building to house special education programs for 18-20 year-old students.
Total amount: $13,173,147
State funds: $4,699,849
SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP – APPROVED
Two-part proposal, totals $6.3 million, with $2.2 million in state funds if approved. Proposal 1 must be approved for Proposal 2 to pass.
Proposal 1: Infrastructure and site improvements to Springfield Township Elementary School.
Total amount: $5,799,531
State funds: $2,072,312
Proposal 2: Installation of air conditioning at Springfield Township Elementary School.
Total amount: $565,750
State funds: $188,800
Three-part proposal for various improvements and upgrades to all schools, totals $26.9 million, with $12.6 million available in state funds if approved. Proposal 1 must be approved for either of the other two proposals to pass.
Proposal 1: APPROVED – Various improvements to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems; roof replacements; renovations; security upgrades at five schools, plus administration building.
Total amount: $13,882,000
State funds: $6,602,700
Proposal 2: APPROVED – Replacement of air conditioning units, lighting upgrades, other improvements at five schools, plus administration building. Eligible for approval only if Proposal 1 passes.
Total amount: $9,765,000
State funds: $4,760,437
Proposal 3: DEFEATED – Glassboro High School music room, orchestra room renovation; renovation of basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields and track; Intermediate School fitness track; and other improvements. Eligible for approval only if Proposal 1 passes.
State funds: $1,270,156
EDISON – APPROVED
Construction of new elementary school to replace James Monroe Elementary School, which was destroyed by fire in March 2014. Total project cost includes $9,493,934 from insurance proceeds, so the district will issue bonds in the amount of $18,633,862. The district is also eligible for state funds to cover debt service.
Insurance proceeds: $9,493,934
State funds: $3,876,730
WEST LONG BRANCH – APPROVED
Renovations and upgrades of two schools, including replacement of HVAC; electrical and lighting upgrades; science lab renovations at Frank Antonides School; and other improvements.
State funds: $3,599,960
WAYNE – DEFEATED, AWAITING PROVISIONAL BALLOTS
Security enhancements at 13 schools, including door replacement, clock and intercom replacements, various other security and safety upgrades and improvement.
State funds: $1,923,303