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Colts Neck voters reject school improvement projects

COLTS NECK – Voters in Colts Neck have defeated two referendum questions proposed by the Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education totaling $34.6 million for facilities improvements.

The special election was held on Oct. 2. The referendum sought authorization to undertake alterations, renovations and improvements at the Conover Road Primary School, the Conover Road Elementary School and the Cedar Drive Middle School.

Voters were asked to approve two separate proposals. According to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk, the first question was rejected in a count of 842 “no” votes to 671 “yes” votes, and the second question was rejected in a count of 971 “no” votes to 532 “yes” votes.

The first question, totaling $24.82 million, asked voters to consider the following upgrades and renovations at the Cedar Drive Middle School and the Conover Road Elementary School to provide for new/upgraded flooring, casework, windows, roofing, toilet facilities, ADA improvements, HVAC system, classroom/emergency lighting, doors/hardware and electrical system, interior upgrades and site improvements including pavement improvements; upgrade and renovate the Conover Road Primary School to provide for new/upgraded doors and hardware and reconstruction of parking lots and driveways; and reconfiguration of the Conover campus roads to provide safety/security improvements.

The second question, totaling $9.79 million, asked voters to consider the upgrades, renovation and expansion of the Cedar Drive Middle School to provide for the addition of a 600-seat auditorium, stage and ancillary areas, a new fitness room, new toilet facilities, gymnasium storage and replacement of canopy.

In the wake of the referendum’s defeat, Superintendent of Schools MaryJane Garibay said, “While we did not get the results we hoped for, we will now examine post-election options and take reflective steps forward to complete the work in our schools that still needs to be done.”

According to district administrators, Colts Neck would have received 34 percent of the cost through state aid for the items included in the first question and about 2.73 percent of the cost through state aid for the items included in second question. The second question could have only passed if the first question was approved by voters.

District administrators said the referendum, if approved, would have increased school taxes paid by Colts Neck property owners. The owner of the a home assessed at $818,792, which is the average assessed valued of a home in Colts Neck, would have seen a $282 increase if only the first question was approved and a $448 increase if both questions were approved.

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