When New Jersey voters go to the polls on Nov. 5, most will have the opportunity to elect members of their local boards of education.

In 528 New Jersey school districts, the Annual School Election takes place in November. This year, 1,560 board of education positions are on the ballot statewide. In addition, voters in 19 school districts will act on ballot proposals, ranging from construction bond issues, to requests to increase the local tax levy above the state’s 2% cap, to proposed changes in composition of the local school board.

Beginning in 2012, communities were permitted to change the date of their annual school board elections from April to November. Over 90% of school districts now conduct November elections. Only 15 school districts hold their annual elections in April. In addition, there are 39 school boards  appointed by the mayor or the county board of freeholders.

Rate of Candidacy This year, 1,980 candidates filed petitions to run for the 1,560 school board positions on the ballot. This represents a slight change from 2018, when 2,099 candidates filed petitions to run for the 1,566 school board positions on the ballot. The ratio of candidates per open seat is approximately 1.27, which is down slightly from 1.34 candidates per available seat in 2018.

In 2017, the ratio was 1.29 candidates per seat, according to data gathered from the state’s 21 county clerks. In 2011, the last year in which all board member elections were held in April, there were 1.44 candidates for each available seat.

Ballot Questions School boards may place special questions on the November election ballot, and this year 19 districts have done so.

  • Eight school boards are asking voters to approve funding beyond the state’s 2% tax levy cap for specific items.
  • 10 boards are asking voters to approve borrowing for school construction projects.
  • One board of education, in Wenonah, Gloucester County, is asking its voters to approve a reduction in the size of the school board from nine to seven members.

Tax Levy Questions

School boards may place questions on the ballot asking voters to approve spending outside of the state’s 2% tax levy cap. The question must state if the additional revenue sought would represent a permanent or a one-time increase in the district’s tax levy. The eight districts with tax levy questions include:

North Arlington (Bergen County) Three proposals are on the ballot. The first, for $1.8 million, would allow the district to hire five elementary school teachers, guidance counselors, music, phys ed and art teachers, a computer technician, a secretary and three custodians. A second proposal, for $709,305, would allow the district to hire six special law enforcement officers, Class III (SLEO III); six door monitors and staffing coverage for specific night events. A third proposal, for $780,290, would permit the hiring of seven pre-kindergarten teachers and seven pre-kindergarten aides. Approval of the questions will result in a permanent increase to the district’s tax levy.

Ramsey (Bergen County) $711,216 to hire personnel and purchase supplies to provide for full-day kindergarten in the district. Approval will result in a permanent increase to the district’s tax levy.

Saddle Brook (Bergen County) $475,000 to hire a student assistance coordinator, teachers in world language and health and physical education; a human resource administrative assistant, a supervisor of elementary education and additional professional development for faculty and staff.  Approval will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

Collingswood (Camden County) $225,000 for counselors/mental health services to allow the district to develop and offer a comprehensive social-emotional and mental health services program to students and families. Approval will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

Newfield (Gloucester County) $121,500 to pay required tuition to the Delsea Regional Board of Education to cover a prior year’s unanticipated increase in student enrollment. Approval will not result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.   

Metuchen (Middlesex County) $700,000 to expand mental health and emotional support services for students throughout the district. District child study teams, school counselors, teachers, building administrators and parents have reported an increase in student anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. The proposal is asking the public to fund additional supports and interventions. Approval will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

Netcong (Morris County) $35,000 to hire one security officer/school resource officer for the safety and security of students and staff on school grounds. Approval will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

North Warren Regional (Warren County) $200,000 to fund teacher salaries to maintain and/or to reduce class size. Approval will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

Other Ballot Questions

Wenonah (Gloucester County) The board of education is not posing a tax levy question but is asking voters to approve a reduction of the size of the board from nine to seven members.

Construction Proposals

The annual school election also serves as one of five dates during the year when school boards may ask voters to approve school construction proposals.

On Nov. 5, voters in 10 school districts will decide 15 proposed school construction questions. Under the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act of 2000, the state will fund at least 40% of eligible school construction costs through annual debt service aid.

A summary of the proposed projects follows:

Statewide amount proposed – $238,523,579
State funding proposed – $76,271,303

Palisades Park (Bergen County)

The Board of Education of the Palisades Park School District is proposing  to undertake a construction project consisting of facilities upgrades, renovation and expansion at the Palisades Park Jr./Sr. High School, the Charles Lindbergh Elementary School, and the Dr. Charles Smith Jr. Early Childhood Center.

Total amount: $61,139,346
State funds: $17,236,632

Verona (Essex County)  

Proposal 1: New roofs for every school building to replace roofs that are 22 years old; windows, stage rigging, paving, masonry, elementary school playground, boiler repairs, school security enhancements, gym floor replacement and a new phone communication system.

Total amount: $22,273,701
State funds: $8,909,480.40

Proposal 2: (contingent upon approval of Proposal 1): Air-conditioning in every school building.

Total amount: $5,497,802
State funds: $2,199,120.80

Flemington Raritan Regional (Hunterdon County)

 Proposal 1: Upgrade Barley Sheaf Elementary, Copper Hill Elementary, Francis A. Desmares Elementary, J.P. Case Middle, Reading Fleming Intermediate and Robert Hunter Elementary schools including security upgrades; parking lot, sidewalk and fencing improvements; roof replacement at five elementary schools; window replacement and exterior building repairs at the Reading Fleming Intermediate School.

Total amount:  $ 21,755,617
State funds: $7,000,000

Proposal 2: Air quality upgrades including air-conditioning and humidity control measures at Barley Sheaf Elementary, Copper Hill Elementary, Francis A. Desmares Elementary, Reading Fleming Intermediate and Robert Hunter Elementary schools.

Total amount: $20,308,019
State funds: $7,000,000

Rumson (Monmouth County)

Projects to be undertaken include security upgrades, new HVAC units, remodeling of the libraries and science rooms to provide integrated technology in flexible and reconfigurable settings to accommodate a variety of learning opportunities for student exploration.

Total amount: $25,743,972
State funds: 7,875,770.40

Red Bank Borough (Monmouth County)

Projects include roof repairs, masonry repairs, replacing an HVAC system, and replacing old windows with thermal efficient windows.

Total amount: $6,750,000
State funds: 2,700,000

Freehold Regional High School (Monmouth County)

Proposal 1: Enhanced security, including vestibule upgrades, interior door locking systems and replacement of existing public address systems at all schools. Critical infrastructure updates include roofing, paving and tennis court reconstruction at all schools. Manalapan High School will also receive two additional tennis courts, the track will be resurfaced at Colts Neck High School, and required safety repairs will be made to the auditorium at Freehold High School.

Total amount: $20,167,639
State funds: $6,695,349.60

Proposal 2 (contingent upon approval of Proposal 1): Create flexible science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) spaces in every school. These lab environments will simulate real-world conditions where teachers lead student teams through the engineering process, from research and design to fabrication, assembly and testing. Renovations and safety improvements will also be made to existing bleachers in every school’s athletic stadium.

Total amount: $11,676,911
State funds: $ 2,647,772

Proposal 3 (contingent upon approval of Proposal 1): Installation of multi-purpose synthetic turf fields at Freehold Township, Manalapan and Marlboro high schools. Create flexible learning spaces at Colts Neck High School’s media center. Reconfigure Freehold High School’s auditorium for improved space utilization and expanded seating.

Total amount: $10,169,316
State funds: $658,123.20

Florham Park (Morris County)

Proposal 1: Roof repairs, computer lab renovations, boiler replacement, renovations to the media center to create a science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) lab and computer lab. Replace lighting and replace an emergency generator.

Total amount: $19,839,493
State funds: $7,935,797.20

Proposal 2 (contingent upon approval of Proposal 1): Renovate child study team and special services areas, replace flooring and windows, renovate bathrooms, mill and repave parking lots, access drives and sidewalks.

Total amount:  $5,014,663
State funds: $2,005,865.20

Lavallette (Ocean County)

Projects include new HVAC, roofing, and masonry, and heightened security, especially at the main entrance.

Total amount: $2,200,000
State funds: $880,000

Hackettstown (Warren County)

Roof replacement and electrical service replacement at the middle school and high school, and roof replacement at the Hatchery Hill School.

Total amount: $3,996,000
State funds: $1,646,751.60

Oxford (Warren County)

Security upgrades including exterior window and door security upgrades; HVAC system improvements. Exterior water supply improvement. Repair and replace exterior stairs and ramps; gym floor refurbishing, roof flashing repairs, masonry and doorframe repairs.

Total amount:  $1,991,100
State funds: $880,640.51

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