A $22.2 million bond referendum that proposed improvements to Red Bank Regional High School has been approved by voters.
The vote on Dec. 11 was separated into two questions. A collective majority from the three constituent towns in the regional school district – Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury Borough – passed the referendum vote.
The total vote on the first question was 1,508 “yes” to 678 “no.” The total vote on the second question was 1,284 “yes” to 886 “no,” according to results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office on Dec. 11.
The results that were posted immediately after the election do not include all mail-in ballots or provisional ballots that were cast at polling locations on Dec. 11.
The first question asked voters to approve the expenditure of $19.9 million. State aid is anticipated to cover $4.2 million of that amount. Work will include the replacement of the Red Bank Regional High School roof, the renovation of existing areas and the addition of 10 classrooms.
Voters in Red Bank approved that question by a count of 363 “yes” to 171 “no.” Voters in Little Silver approved that question by a count of 778 “yes” to 286 “no.” Voters in Shrewsbury Borough approved that question by a count of 367 “yes” to 221 “no.”
The second question asked voters to approve the expenditure of $2.3 million to pay for the construction of a synthetic turf field and the construction of a new concession stand with restrooms at the Red Bank Regional High School field.
Voters in Red Bank approved that question by a count of 302 “yes” to 231 “no.” Voters in Little Silver approved that question by a count of 674 “yes” to 381 “no.” Voters in Shrewsbury Borough approved that question by a count of 308 “yes” to 274 “no.”
School district administrators said no state aid would be provided for the construction of the synthetic turf field and the new concession stand at the high school, which is located in Little Silver.
“We thank our community for their faith in our school district and appreciate the confidence they have demonstrated in our mission to educate our students,” Superintendent of Schools Louis Moore said. “With the necessary work that will be accomplished by this project, (Red Bank Regional High School) will be ready to meet future challenges, serve our community and meet the needs of all our students. It ensures we will continue to be one of the finest high schools in our state.”
In Little Silver, the owner of a home assessed at $600,000 is expected to pay about $138 more annually in school taxes through 2023 following the passage of both questions; in Red Bank, the owner of a home assessed at $300,000 is expected to pay about $70 more annually through 2023 following the passage of both questions; and in Shrewsbury Borough, the owner of a home assessed at $500,000 is expected to pay about $130 more annually through 2023 following the passage of both questions, according to Frank A. Neary Jr., the Board of Education member who chairs the finance committee.
Neary said that after 2023, the extra amount in Little Silver would decrease to about $90; the extra amount in Red Bank would decrease to about $45; and the extra amount in Shrewsbury Borough would decrease to $80.
The exact amount of additional taxes to be paid will be determined by the assessed value of an individual’s home and/or property.
According to the school district’s website, current enrollment at the high school already exceeds the building’s capacity and a recent demographic study predicts further significant increases.
The work is necessary so the board can continue to accommodate students from Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury Borough, Neary said, who are districted to attend the high school, and so the board can continue to accept out-of-district students who pay tuition to attend Red Bank Regional and enroll in special programs.
Students who pay tuition, Neary said, collectively contribute to the substantial revenue stream the school takes in annually. Revenue generated in previous years, he said, has funded the school’s five academies, athletics and extracurricular activities.
The academies offered at the high school are the Visual and Performing Arts Academy, the Academy of Information Technology, the Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Finance and the Early Childhood Education Academy.
Red Bank Regional also offers advanced placement courses, dual credit courses, honors programs and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. The IB program is described by the district as a “rigorous and comprehensive pre-university course of studies.”