Voters in 10 New Jersey school districts approved construction proposals on the ballot on Tuesday, March 8, to support $126 million in school construction, including school additions; creation of new STEM labs; enhancements to HVAC and security systems; athletic facilities improvements; and other work. Of the total amount that was approved, $42 million qualifies for state funds.

A total of 21 construction questions in 13 districts went before voters in the special school election. The total reflects multi-part proposals in several districts. Construction proposals were on the ballot in eight counties: Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean and Somerset.

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.

In addition to the construction proposals, two districts (Longport in Atlantic County and Lopatcong in Warren County) asked voters to approve tax-levy adjustments to support operations. Both measures were rejected.

Following is a summary of proposals on the March 8 ballot:

Construction Referenda Results

Statewide

Total amount approved – $126,484,180  ($252,774,050 requested)
Amount eligible for state funds–$41,743,841 State funds reduce the amount of construction costs paid by local property taxpayers. State funding may include up-front construction grants and/or payments of annual debt service aid. An up-front grant would reduce the amount of the bond, that is, the money the school district needs to borrow for the project. Annual state debt service aid would be used to help the district pay down the bond.)

Bergen County

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS – Approved
Improve heating and ventilation system at Hasbrouck Heights Middle School/High School, and two elementary schools. Part of the project would be funded by $500,000 from the district’s capital reserve.
Total project cost: $6,725,106
State funds:  $2,329,502

NORTHERN VALLEY REGIONAL—Approved
Renovations and upgrades of both high schools, including providing STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) labs at both; renovating auditoriums; providing a forensic lab at the regional high school at Demarest, and a physics lab in the high school at Old Tappan; upgrading athletic facilities and camera security systems.
Total project cost: $11,707,485
State funds: $4,517,932

Camden County

HADDONFIELD—Approved
Three-part proposal includes HVAC improvements and installations, door and window replacement, exterior repairs, plumbing and drainage work, various upgrades throughout all schools, plus athletic facility improvements at Haddonfield Memorial High School.

PROPOSAL I
Various “critical needs” capital improvements at all schools.
Total project cost: $30,152,660
State funds: $12,061,064

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Various capital improvements at all schools, including installation and/or upgrading of HVAC in various classrooms.
Total project cost: $3,661,190
State funds: $1,464,476

PROPOSAL III (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Upgrades to athletic facilities at Haddonfield Memorial High School, including replacement of track surfacing and structural repairs to stadium.
Total project cost: $1,437,500
State funds: $175,000

Cape May County

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP—Approved
Two-part proposal funds improvements and renovations to four schools.

PROPOSAL I
Improvements, renovations and additions/new construction to two elementary schools, plus renovations and improvements to middle and high school.
Total project cost: $21,320,439
State funds: $2,283,245

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Construction and refurbishment of athletic and playground facilities at Elementary School #2.
Total project cost: $3,324,699

Gloucester County

DEPTFORD—Rejected
Two-part proposal to provide extensive improvements to eight schools, including classroom additions; security enhancements; facilities for a new special education program and science labs at the high school; and improvements to HVAC, site safety, and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.

PROPOSAL I
Security improvements at all schools; additions at various schools to provide classrooms, art and music rooms, auxiliary gymnasiums; 16-classroom expansion at Monongahela Middle School; addition of special education and science lab facilities at the high school.
Total project cost:  $68,576,150
State funds: $10,380,395

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Air conditioning systems in all schools, including new HVAC digital control systems, and electrical system upgrades.
Total project cost: $28,830,710
State funds: $11,581,786

KINGSWAY REGIONAL—Rejected
Two-part proposal to provide improvements to the district’s athletic stadium and fields, and create a new bus maintenance center.

PROPOSAL I
Resurface football field and grass field to support multi-sport synthetic turf field; convert 6-lane track to 8-lane rubberized surface track; expand bleachers; construct new bus maintenance facility.
Total project cost: $9,980,625

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Construction of new track and field/marching band field house; expand existing athletic field house.
Total project cost: $1,968,750

MONROE TOWNSHIP—Rejected
Two-part proposal, including security system improvements; high school parking lot repaving and basin dredging; HVAC and structural work; middle school auditorium and auxiliary renovations; athletic facility improvements; and renovation of district-owned property for new administrative offices.

PROPOSAL I
Includes improvements to aging infrastructure at all schools, plus renovations to middle school auxiliary gym and auditorium; track renovation, tennis court improvements and field irrigation; and build-out of new district administrative offices.
Total project cost: $12,433,635
State funds: $4,472,664

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Includes multi-use synthetic turf at stadium and soccer fields, and synthetic turf improvements for baseball and softball.
Total project cost: $3,900,000

Monmouth County

MATAWAN-ABERDEEN REGIONAL—Approved
Two-part proposal for HVAC upgrades and improvements to all schools, including new ventilators, controls, electrical upgrades and air conditioning in instructional spaces that do not currently have it. Both proposals involve projects in each district school.

PROPOSAL I
Total project cost: $13,400,000
State funds: $5,360,000

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Total project cost: $6,456,000
State funds: $2,582,400

Ocean County

EAGLESWOOD—Approved
Two-part proposal to include site improvements, renovations and an addition to township elementary school.

PROPOSAL I
Includes site improvements and renovations.
Total project cost: $2,815,510
State funds: $1,126,204

PROPOSAL II (contingent upon approval of Proposal I)
Includes improvements and a building addition.
Total project cost: $1,577,000
State funds: $305,898

ISLAND HEIGHTS—Approved
Various improvements and renovations to Island Heights Elementary School.
Total project cost: $2,992,252
State funds: $1,196,900

Somerset County

HILLSBOROUGH/MILLSTONE – Approved
Replacement of the artificial turf field at the high school, and parking-lot paving, drainage and site improvements at the middle school.
Total project cost: $2,034,509
State funds: $813,803

MONTGOMERY/ROCKY HIL – Approved
Renovations, alterations and improvements to five schools.
Total project cost: $18,502,580
State funds: $7,150,917

WATCHUNG HILLS REGIONAL—Approved
Replacement and repair of existing synthetic turf field at main high school football stadium, along with associated site work and track repair. (Note: One of the district’s constituent municipalities, Long Hill Township, is located in Morris County.)
Total project cost: $941,250
State funds: $376,500

TAX LEVY QUESTIONS

Two school districts asked voters to authorize tax levy adjustments to cover operating costs.

Atlantic County

LONGPORT— Rejected
Sought approval to raise an additional $398,265. Longport is a non-operating district, whose primary expenditures are paid to nearby districts for the education of the community’s children and the cost of their transportation. Increases in tuition and transportation fees, set by the receiving districts, have been more than the 2 percent tax levy cap increase set by the state.

Warren County

LOPATCONG—Rejected
Sought approval to raise an additional $600,000 to maintain seven district-wide general/special education teachers and one music teacher, and to replenish fund balance in 2016-2017.