NJ’s special school elections: construction projects and potential merger
🏫 Sept. 26 is designated as a "special school election" day in New Jersey
🏫 Most ballot questions involve proposed school construction projects
🏫 Voters in one county will be deciding whether to merge three districts
Voters in a handful of New Jersey counties will be asked Tuesday whether or not they're on board with local school districts borrowing millions of dollars for upgrades.
Also up for a vote is a proposal to combine three districts into one in Monmouth County.
The New Jersey School Boards Association says it has learned of seven boards of education with construction proposals on the Sept. 26 ballot. Together, the questions ask about borrowing more than $126 million for construction. The rest of the funding for the projects would come from the state.
"Most districts do a pretty good job of publicizing a bond issue," said Janet Bamford, NJSBA's chief public affairs officer. "Districts do their best to make sure that everyone is aware of it and that they get a good voter turnout."
According to NJSBA, 85% of school construction proposals were approved by voters in 2022. The success rate was 82% in 2021. The lowest "yes" percentages, according to the Association's data going back to 2001, were recorded in 2010 and 2011 (50% in each year).
NJ special school election proposals for Sept. 26
Closter Borough, Bergen County
⚫ Replace the roof and boilers at Hillside Elementary School
⚫ Replace the roof, boilers, windows, and gymnasium HVAC system at Tenakill Middle School
Lawrence Township, Cumberland County
⚫ Construct additions and undertake renovations at Myron L. Powell Elementary School
North Caldwell Borough, Essex County
⚫ Construct additions and undertake upgrades at Grandview School and Gould School
Spotsowood Borough, Middlesex County
⚫ Replacement of the lighting and sound system in the cafeteria, and upgrades to the athletic facilities, at Spotswood High School
⚫ Improvements to the HVAC and electrical services at Memorial Middle School
⚫ Replacement of the playground equipment, and HVAC upgrades, at E. Raymond Appleby Elementary School
⚫ Replacement of the playground equipment, HVAC upgrades and improvements, and replacement of a portion of the roof at G. Austin Schoenly Elementary School
Butler Borough, Morris County
⚫ Provide a building connector, and renovate the main office, at Butler High School
⚫ Create a drop-off loop at Aaron Decker School
⚫ Sanitary pump, electrical feeder and pressure piping replacement at Richard Butler School
Bond proposal question No. 2, which will only go into effect if both 1 and 2 are approved, includes improvements to the science lab at Butler High School, as well as bathroom renovations, and locker and window replacement at both Butler High School and Richard Butler School.
Question No. 3, which will only go into effect if questions 1, 2, and 3 are approved, includes gymnasium renovations at Butler High School, a security vestibule at Aaron Decker School, and security vestibule improvements at Richard Butler School.
Pittsgrove Township, Salem County
⚫ Various upgrades at Elmer Elementary School, Norma Elementary School, Oliver Elementary School, Pittsgrove Township Middle School, and Arthur P. Schalick High School
Hopatcong Borough, Sussex County
⚫ Renovations and improvements at Hopatcong High School, Hopatcong Middle School, and Durban Avenue Elementary School
Bond proposal question No. 2, which will only go into effect if both 1 and 2 are approved, includes a new scoreboard and sound system, and concession stand renovations, at Hopatcong High School, as well as renovations at Tulsa Trail Elementary School.
Highlands Borough, Monmouth County
Voters are being asked whether the Highlands School District, Atlantic Highlands School District, and Henry Hudson Regional School District should join together to convert Henry Hudson Regional into a pre-K-through 12 district. The question notes that tax savings are expected to result from the proposed regionalization.