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NJ Voters Decide 2013 School Ballot Questions

NEW JERSEY 101.5

Voters in seven of the 501 school districts that held elections across New Jersey this week also faced ballot questions related to their schools.  Four of those questions were defeated, while three won approval.  Three of the four questions that were defeated were related to additional school spending.

School Construction
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School boards do not have to submit their entire budgets for voter approval when they hold November elections, but they can place budget questions on the ballot if they want to spend above the state’s two percent cap.  Ridgefield and Dunellen asked voters to approve additional spending on security and Haddon Heights asked voters to spend more on student activities.  All three questions failed.

Three other proposals were given the green light.  Westfield voters approved a $6.6 million construction proposal intended to make the district eligible for state aid.  In Maurice River, voters agreed to reduce the number of members on their school board and Orange voters voted to change the appointed board to an elected one.

A summary of the ballot questions are below:

  • Ridgefield (Bergen County) – Defeated – $140,000 to expand school security operations by hiring additional security personnel (resulting in a permanent increase in tax levy.)
  • Dunellen (Middlesex County) – Defeated – $100,000 for security personnel to be used exclusively for the hiring of two district security officers and related expenses (resulting in a permanent increase in tax levy.)
  • Haddon Heights (Camden County) – Defeated - $175,516 to fund a number of student activities and related equipment purchases, including winter cheerleading, junior high co-ed track, varsity club, the Scribe newspaper, band instruments and supplies, and computer equipment (resulting in a permanent increase in tax levy.)
  • Westfield (Union County) – Approved - $6,684,000 bond issue referendum for  replacement or restoration of roofs on seven schools and two other district buildings. The ballot question supersedes  a $13.6 million ballot question approved by voters last year, part of which has already been used for roof construction. The new proposal makes the district eligible for $2.7 million in state debt service aid that was not available last year.
  • Maurice River Township (Cumberland County) – Approved -  A proposed change from nine to seven board members.
  • Orange (Essex County) – Approved – A proposal to change the board of education from an appointed board to an elected one.
  • Pleasantville (Atlantic County) Defeated – A question on the municipal ballot proposed to change the board of election from an elected board to an appointed one.

Voters also elected school board members to 1,501 open seats in 501 districts.  Another 40 districts will hold elections in April.

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