Farmingdale voters will have say on school upgrades


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FARMINGDALE – The Farmingdale Public School Board of Education will ask residents to approve a $4.81 million referendum in order to make renovations at the school. A special election to be held from 2-8 p.m. Sept. 26.

Those who go to the polls will vote yes or no on the bonding ballot proposal that will state, “The Board of Education … is authorized to undertake a school facilities project consisting of roof replacement; fire alarm system replacement; replacement of water heaters, boilers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and system controls with energy efficient systems; security, communication and handicap/ADA upgrades and renovations; window replacement; site repair and regrading; interior and exterior door replacements and upgrades for security, accessibility and energy efficiency; toilet room upgrades; flooring and lighting replacement; and building envelope improvements.”

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Board President Beau Byrtus said the passage of the referendum is needed in order to provide the borough’s youngsters with a viable education.

“The Farmingdale Public School is the cornerstone of our community and it will take the community as a whole to provide the education we need for our children and the way we are going to do it is to pass this referendum,” Byrtus said.

He said the referendum has been a topic of conversation around town and he said the feeling has been positive.

“I think people in town are aware we have aging infrastructure at the school,” Byrtus said.

Administrators said about 165 students attend the school which educates children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“I am feeling very confident from the folks I have talked to that people in the community are supportive of the referendum. The (proposed projects) are such important upgrades, not even upgrades, such important fixes that we need for a school to stay solvent going into the future,” Byrtus said.

Administrators said if the referendum is approved, state funding will cover up to 40 percent of the project costs, leaving Farmingdale’s property owners to fund the remaining 60 percent.

“I cannot speak to (other board members’ opinions), but I can tell you they did vote in the affirmative and we all worked very closely and very hard to put this (referendum) together.

“In particular, we went line by line by line from our original report several years ago to identify what are the most pressing items that need to be addressed, how are we going to get those done, and which are the items we are going to get 40 percent state aid on,” Byrtus said.

If the referendum is approved, the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 would pay an estimated $23 per month more in K-8 school taxes for the life of the 20-year bond, according to school administrators.

The owner of a home assessed at $300,000 would pay an estimated $34 per month more in K-8 school taxes for the life of the 20-year bond, according to school administrators.

Administrators said they believe asking residents to approve a multimillion dollar referendum is a more cost-effective approach than a “pay as we go” method which they said would be more costly and take longer to complete.

Administrators said the current equipment and facilities are at the end or beyond their useful life and are inefficient.

“Our boilers need to be replaced. We cannot teach kids in the winter if the school is cold,” Byrtus said.

The most recent renovations to the school were made 25 years ago when the middle school wing was added.

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