Voters approve school upgrades in Spotswood

SPOTSWOOD – Voters from Spotswood and Helmetta approved a $1.7 million referendum to fund various improvements for schools utilized by students from both boroughs.

On Sept. 26, residents of Spotswood approved the referendum in a 264-72 vote, while residents of Helmetta also voted in favor with a 47-5 vote, for a total of 311 “yes” votes and 77 “no” votes, according to the School Business Administrator Vita Marino.

In November 2015, the Spotswood Board of Education proposed a $9.3 million referendum that was eventually approved by residents to fund improvements for four schools that are located in Spotswood, according to information provided by Spotswood officials.

The renovations included improvements to the locker rooms, replacement of windows, roofing, grandstands and athletic track with surrounding fencing at Spotswood High School; roofing and edge metal panel replacement at Memorial Middle School; playground and security at Appleby Elementary School; and HVAC upgrades to Schoenly Elementary School, according to information provided by the school district.

Due to favorable bond rates, lower project bids and reduced rates of supplies, the final cost of the 2015 referendum was $8.1 million, not $9.3 million as estimated – a difference of $1.2 million that is now available for use, according to information provided by the school district.

Therefore, the school district sought to reallocate $1.7 million in funds this year for additional upgrades such as security projects at Memorial Middle School, a replacement generator at Spotswood High School and funding for the geothermal heating system at Appleby Elementary School that broke down last year.

Using $1.2 million of the remaining funds from the 2015 referendum and $500,000 from a state subsidy that is available when a district presents approved projects through a referendum, the remaining projects can move forward, according to district officials.

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