Voters in four New Jersey school districts went to the polls on Tuesday, March 28 to act on $117.8 million in construction projects, in special elections that were rescheduled due to heavy snow on March 14. The proposals included new classroom space, athletic facility improvements, security and technology enhancements, and HVAC upgrades.
In three of four districts where elections took place, proposals were approved. Glen Ridge and Woodbridge Township both saw proposals pass, and in South Plainfield, the first proposal in a two-question election was approved.
Construction proposals were on the ballot in three counties: Burlington, Essex and Middlesex. The approved projects will be partially supported by state funds.
While the March 14 storm caused snow days throughout much of the state, along the shore, the impact was much less significant. One district, Mullica Township in Atlantic County, went ahead with its bond issue referendum on March 14. That $1.9 million project was approved.
In addition to the construction proposals, voters in Orange, Essex County, and Linwood, Atlantic County, were scheduled to each select two additional school board members on March 14. The special elections followed referenda, last November, in which voters chose to switch from appointed to elected school boards. State law requires that when voters in a district with a seven-member appointed school board approve conversion to an elected board system, the size of the board must increase to nine members.
The vote went ahead on March 14 in Linwood, where two new members were elected, while Orange’s contest was postponed due to snow and held March 28.
The next date available for special school elections will be in September, although districts that hold school board elections in April may also present school bond referendums then.
Following is a summary of construction proposals on the March 28 ballot:
Total amount proposed – $117,865,967
Total amount approved — $111,070,967
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement – $28,439,388 (State reimbursement is made through payment of annual debt service aid.)
Total amount eligible for state reimbursement approved — $26,718,188
Shamong Township (DEFEATED) Renovations, alterations and improvements to Indian Mills Memorial Middle School and Indian Mills Elementary School.
Total project cost: $5,395,000
State funds: $1,721,200
Glen Ridge (APPROVED) Renovations and improvements to four schools, plus acquisition and renovation of the Central School building, previously owned by the district, to provide for early education and elementary school classes.
Total project cost: $23,758,854
State funds: $4,330,923
Proposal 1: (APPROVED) Renovations and improvements to seven schools and the South Plainfield Athletic Complex.
Total project cost: $28,094,000
State funds: $9,526,000
Proposal 2 (DEFEATED) (contingent upon approval of Proposal I): Synthetic field at the athletic complex and related work
Total project cost: $1,400,000
Woodbridge (APPROVED) Upgrades and improvements, including construction of a new elementary school on an existing site, to provide district-wide full-day kindergarten, technology upgrades, security upgrades, additional classrooms. Board capital funds of $1,550,000 will fund technology and security upgrades.
Total project cost: $59,218,113
State funds: $12,861,265