Voters in eight school districts approved spending proposals Tuesday totaling nearly $164.4 million.
Results were obtained from school board offices and county clerks and are unofficial. Due to the new vote-by-mail law, the mail-in ballot count will continue after Election Day. The new law allows mail-in ballots to be received by boards of election up to 48 hours after the close of the polls, provided the ballot is postmarked by Election Day. If the result of any election changes, updated information will be posted in the next online edition of School Board Notes.
In Carteret, Middlesex County, voters approved construction of a new junior high school. In Rutherford, Bergen County, the conversion of gymnasiums to classrooms and laboratories was approved. Most of the other requests concerned projects to upgrade school security or replace aging facilities.
Sept. 24 is one of five dates during the year when school boards may ask voters to approve school construction proposals. Under the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, the state will fund at least 40% of eligible school construction costs through annual debt service aid. Proposed construction projects in all nine school districts are at least partially eligible for state funds.
Here are the statewide figures gathered by the New Jersey School Boards Association from local school boards and the offices of the county clerks:
Statewide amount proposed – $189,877,689
State funding proposed – $59,727,137
Statewide amount approved — $164,397,689
State funding approved — $46,696,379
A synopsis of the proposed spending plans follows:
Rutherford (Bergen County) APPROVED
This plan includes classrooms and instructional space to serve an increasing number of students. It would renovate high school science labs that are almost 50 years old, and add them at Union Middle School where none exist. The plan also addresses critical maintenance including installation of an energy-efficient exterior; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); electrical and plumbing upgrades.
Total amount: $45,330,478
State funds: $10,664,192
Rancocas Valley Regional High School (Burlington County) APPROVED
The spending proposal consists of fire and security upgrades and improvements; renovations including doors, bathrooms, windows, ceilings, HVAC, electrical and plumbing work.
Total amount: $21,706,981
State funds: $8,682,792.40
Oaklyn (Camden County) APPROVED
Planned renovation work will keep students warm, safe and dry — warm, with a new HVAC system; safe with a new main entrance security vestibule; and dry with replacement of a roof, drains and exterior windows. The district plans to use $588,000 in capital reserve funds to reduce the cost of the project for residents.
Total amount: $3,988,800
State funds: $1,360,320
Carteret (Middlesex County) APPROVED
The district proposes to build a new junior high school for grades seven and eight while renovating and making improvements to Columbus Elementary School, Minue Elementary School, Nathan Hale Elementary School, Carteret Middle School and Carteret High School. Renovation work includes bathrooms, stair towers and handrails and the auditorium at the high school. Proposed work also includes replacement of HVAC in the gym/auditorium at Minue Elementary School and Carteret Middle School.
Total amount: $36,999,995
State funds: $7,374,144.34
Colts Neck (Monmouth County) REJECTED
The proposal will improve indoor air quality, replace HVAC and electrical systems and remove vinyl asbestos flooring. These projects will replace systems and equipment that are more than 50 years old.
Total amount: $25,480,000
State funds: $13,030,758
Fair Haven (Monmouth County) APPROVED
Voter approval would enable expansion to full-day kindergarten, make space for a strong emphasis on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) and provide dedicated World Language classrooms. The proposed project would also improve security, HVAC and electrical systems at both of the district’s schools.
Total amount: $15,647,435
State funds: $3,145,924.40
Rockaway Borough (Morris County) APPROVED
The proposed expansion and renovation of Lincoln Elementary School would provide kindergarten classrooms, a new main entrance and support spaces, with new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, safety and HVAC systems. The project would also renovate and upgrade Thomas Jefferson Middle School to provide HVAC upgrades, a security vestibule; restroom renovations; roof replacement; floor improvements and electric service upgrades.
Total amount: $12,480,000
State funds: $4,171,405.60
Watchung Hills Regional High School (Somerset and Morris counties) APPROVED
The board of education has proposed renovations and upgrades to the media center and electrical upgrades, including the replacement of electrical panels and distribution systems. The board expects to fund its local share of debt service with monies that will be available in the capital reserve fund and in the debt service fund. Therefore, it is anticipated that no new tax dollars will be raised to pay for the projects.
Total amount: $3,857,000
State funds: $1,542,800
Hawthorne, Passaic County APPROVED
Media center and science lab renovations, fire alarm system upgrades, asbestos removal, electrical upgrades, boiler replacement and roof repairs are among the projects included in the spending proposal.
Total amount: $24,387,000
State funds: $9,754,800