Voters in 11 New Jersey school districts went to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to act on more than $160.2 million in school construction and renovation projects, including new STEAM (science, technology, education, arts, and mathematics) learning labs and classrooms, security enhancements, and roof replacement.

In nine of the districts, projects were approved.

Several districts put forth multi-part referenda, including the School District of the Chathams, where voters approved six separate questions, including two additions.

A total of $160,220,130 in construction appeared on ballots in eight counties. Most of those approved will receive state funding to cover part of the cost. Under the Educational Facilities and Construction and Financing Act of 2000, the state will fund at least 40 percent of eligible school construction costs through annual debt service aid.

The last Tuesday in September is one of five dates on which a school board may propose a bond issue to voters. For the remainder of 2016, construction proposals may be placed on the November General Election ballot (for those districts that elect school board members in November) and in December.

A district-by-district summary of the special elections is as follows:

STATEWIDE

Total amount proposed – $160,220,130

Total amount approved — $119,101,230

Total state funds proposed – $42,415,307 (State reimbursement through annual debt service aid equaling at least 40% of eligible costs)

Total state funds approved — $37,829,202

ATLANTIC COUNTY

SOMERS POINT — APPROVED

Renovations, alterations and improvements at three elementary schools. Proposal includes HVAC, plumbing and lighting upgrades and replacement of lockers.

Total amount: $9,235,000
State funds: $3,694,000

ESSEX COUNTY

MILLBURN — APPROVED

Acquisition of school building originally owned by the local district and most recently operated by a county special services school district. The building would be renovated for use as a Fifth Grade Academy. Proposal also includes additions to the high school and middle school, and renovations, alterations, building system improvements and media center improvements at five elementary schools and the district education center.

Total amount: $25,593,176
State funds: $7,618,198

GLOUCESTER COUNTY

DEPTFORD TOWNSHIP — REJECTED

Addition to middle school, including 16 classrooms, science lab and music room; renovations and improvements to high school and middle school

Total amount: $34,472,176
State funds: $4,586,105

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — APPROVED

Repair and/or replacement of roof at Harrison Township Elementary School

Total amount: $5,326,577
State funds: $2,130,630

MERCER COUNTY

HOPEWELL VALLEY REGIONAL — APPROVED

Addition of arts and wellness education space at high school; renovations and repairs at high school and five elementary schools, including roof replacement, HVAC upgrades, and health and safety improvements.

Total amount: $35,855,000
State funds: $10,437,400

MORRIS COUNTY

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CHATHAMS — ALL APPROVED

Six separate questions calling for various renovations, additions, and health and safety improvements

Total Amount (all proposals): $15,864,300
State funds: $3,815,658

Proposal 1
High School auditorium improvements (replacement of seating, lighting, furnishing and HVAC)
Amount: $3,500,000
State funds: $1,400,000

Proposal 2
Middle School auditorium improvements (seating, lighting, furnishing, HVAC and asbestos removal)
Amount: $3,800,000
State funds: $1,520,000

Proposal 3
Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering arts, mathematics) education addition
Amount: $3,200,000

Proposal 4
Athletic field improvements
Amount: $1,429,000

Proposal 5
Milton Avenue School addition (K-3 classroom space)
Amount: $2,400,000
State funds: $281,538

Proposal 6
Partial roof replacement at High School, Middle School and Lafayette Avenue School
Amount: $1,535,300
State funds: $614,120

MORRIS PLAINS — ALL APPROVED

Two separate questions addressing renovations and improvements at two elementary schools
Total amount (both proposals): $6,242,775
State funds: $2,497,109

Proposal 1
Energy-efficiency and security improvements at the Borough School and Mountain Way School
Amount $5,213,944
State funds: $2,085,577

Proposal 2
Auditorium renovations at Borough School to provide for ADA compliance, large group instruction and community events.
Amount: $1,028,831
State funds: $411,532

MOUNT OLIVE — ALL REJECTED

Two questions related to the establishment of a full-day kindergarten program: (1) a “Bond Proposal” to fund an addition at an elementary school, and (2) an “Additional Funds Proposal” for a tax levy increase to pay salary and benefits for additional teaching staff to implement full-day kindergarten. Both questions must be approved for the program to go forward.

Proposal 1: Bond Issue (contingent upon voter approval of Additional Funds Proposal)
A 14-classroom addition to the Sandshore Elementary School to distribute students more evenly throughout the district and enable accommodation of full-day kindergarten
Amount: $6,646,724

Proposal 2: Additional Funds (contingent upon voter approval of Bond Proposal)
An additional $807,620 in General Funds to be raised through the tax levy to fund salaries and befits for teaching staff

OCEAN COUNTY

TUCKERTON — APPROVED

Educational and safety improvements to the Tuckerton Elementary School, including addition of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) lab, relocation of school offices to control access to building, ADA compliance, and parking lot reconfiguration to enable discharge and pick-up of students on school property

Total amount: $3,636,121
State funds: $1,286,726
Transfer from district capital reserve: $250,000

SUSSEX COUNTY

FRANKFORD — APPROVED

Improvements to the Frankford School, including construction security vestibules, and repair/replacement of portions of roof and fascias

Total amount: $1,463,216
State funds: $585,286

UNION COUNTY

NEW PROVIDENCE — APPROVED

Renovations, alterations and improvements to two elementary schools and Middle/High School. Proposal includes creation of STEM education labs and classrooms, additional classrooms and small-group instructional areas, creation of a Universal Science Lab in the high school, various safety, infrastructure and ADA projects.

Total amount: $15,885,065
State funds: $5,764,195

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