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Residents will vote on school district improvements on Jan. 22 referendum

The Toms River Regional School District Board of Education has passed a resolution to establish a special election referendum question for bonds to finance $147 million in capital improvement projects.

During a meeting on Nov. 20 in the auditorium at Toms River High School North, the nine-member board voted unanimously to move forward with the resolution.

The date of the referendum will be Jan. 22, 2019.

Superintendent of Schools David Healy said the state will cover 37 percent of the $147 million.

“That means $100 million will be on the taxpayers. Based on the proposed tax impact monthly it is going to cost the averaged assessed home $4 to $10 depending on where you live regionally,” Healy said.

During the 2017-18 school year, the district held 19 town hall meetings on the referendum.

“Board of Education President Russell Corby asked the Buildings and Grounds Committee to express its  thoughts on the referendum that was temporarily tabled at the previous meeting. After much discussion among central administration and board members, it was determined we must move forward with the full referendum proposal at this time since priority one projects are long overdue to be completed,” said Joe Nardini, who chairs the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Healy said priority one projects are projects that needed to be done yesterday and should not wait more than a year.

“There nothing in here about a new building, a new swimming pool or any staffing. All of these projects have to be done and should have really been done 10 years ago,” Healy said.

The overall projects include renovations and improvements of 18 school facilities in the district and the purchase of equipment.

 

  • repair and repaving of parking lots and driveways
  • heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • door and window replacements
  • improving accessibility through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • safety and security upgrades
  • school-based projects, like secondary science labs and elementary playgrounds

 

Nardini said a subsequent resolution will be presented at the Dec. 19 board meeting.

“We will detail the structure of the referendum question as well as the final bond proposal, estimated costs and amount of financial support from the New Jersey Department of Education,” Nardini said.

Healy said he is concerned if the bond fails.

“I worry because if the bond fails repairs are going to have to come out of the general fund. We have already depleted our reserves account to fill the hole from state aid reduction,” Healy said.

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