HomeNews TranscriptNews Transcript NewsManalapan-Englishtown voters will decide on $34.5M in school construction projects

Manalapan-Englishtown voters will decide on $34.5M in school construction projects

Three proposals totaling $34.56 million will be on the ballot in Manalapan and Englishtown during a special election to be held on Dec. 11.

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education is asking voters in the two towns that comprise the district to approve the construction of new kindergarten classrooms, maintenance work and air conditioning in schools.

Polls will be open from 2-8 p.m. on Dec. 11. Residents will vote at their regular polling location.

The first referendum question, totaling $3.5 million, proposes constructing four kindergarten classrooms at the Lafayette Mills School, making improvements to the kitchen area and redesigning the front parking lot.

Building the kindergarten classrooms will allow administrators to meet their goal of having between 18 and 19 pupils in each kindergarten class in the district, according to Superintendent of Schools John J. Marciante Jr.

If the first question is approved by voters, the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the township average in Manalapan would be $16 per year for 20 years and the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the borough average in Englishtown would be $12 per year for 20 years, Marciante said.

The second referendum question, totaling $14.69 million, proposes work on maintenance and safety items throughout the school district.

Those funds will allow the district to install emergency generators at six schools so those schools can remain open if there is a power failure, to replace six aging fire alarm systems, to replace windows at the Clark Mills School with energy-efficient windows, to replace the air conditioning unit at the John I. Dawes Early Learning Center with a more efficient and quieter unit, to replace aging exhaust fans at five schools and to replace all lighting fixtures with more efficient LED lighting at six schools, according to the superintendent.

If the second question is approved by voters, the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the township average in Manalapan would be $45 per year for 20 years and the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the borough average in Englishtown would be $35 per year for 20 years, Marciante said.

The third referendum question, totaling $16.37 million, proposes the completion of infrastructure work that would result in all of the district’s schools being fully air conditioned, according to the superintendent.

If the third question is approved by voters, the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the township average in Manalapan would be $50 per year for 20 years and the increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the borough average in Englishtown would be $38 per year for 20 years, Marciante said.

The total cost of the three questions is $34.56 million. Marciante said the state would pay a maximum of 40 percent of the eligible costs of the projects.

If all three proposals are approved by voters, the total increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the township average in Manalapan would be $111 per year for 20 years and the total increase in school taxes for the owner of a home assessed at the borough average in Englishtown would be $85 per year for 20 years, Marciante said.

Marciante has said kindergarten enrollment has been increasing since the district
moved from a half-day program to a full-day program several years ago.

Regarding air conditioning, the Lafayette Mills, Clark Mills, Milford Brook, Taylor
Mills and Pine Brook schools are not fully air conditioned.

Marciante has said there is a difference between children who are trying to learn in a comfortable environment and children who are trying to learn in a building that is not air conditioned. He said the issue for the school board is one of equity.

In a letter posted on the school district’s website, the superintendent wrote, “The passage of this referendum will allow the district to make needed improvements to the overall physical plant with the financial support of the state, close to 40 percent of our debt service.

“Failure to pass the referendum, combined with (a) significant reduction in state aid, will mean that large class sizes in kindergarten will remain, planned improvements in the physical plant will be delayed as we shift to a strategy of fixing major components
of the HVAC system when they break, inefficiencies that waste taxpayer money in the long run such as fluorescent lighting and inefficient windows that increase heating costs will remain in place and the protocol of slowly increasing the amount of air-conditioned areas within the district will be discontinued,” Marciante wrote.

The Manalapan-Englishtown district educates children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and has an enrollment of 5,100 students.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Stay Connected

213FansLike
86FollowersFollow

Current Issue