HomeEB SentinelEB Sentinel NewsVoters defeat $146M referendum for new middle school, addition to high school

Voters defeat $146M referendum for new middle school, addition to high school

With the defeat of a $146 million referendum that proposed the construction of a new middle school and an addition to Monroe Township High School, the need for additional facilities remains unchanged, Monroe Township School District Acting Superintendent of Schools Robert Goodall said.

“The district administration and the Board of Education will formalize a plan to address our increasing enrollment considering the impact to our taxpayers,” he said. “This plan will focus on what is best for the kids.”

Goodall and Board of Education President Kathy Kolupanowich expressed “disappointment” with the defeat of the two-question referendum, which was held on March 12.

“I want to thank all of our residents who were involved in the process, especially those who supported our message to address the current and projected unhoused students in our school district,” Goodall said.

Kolupanowich said district administrators will take some time and digest the results of the election before they make any decisions on future plans.

“The board will be reaching out to the community to get their input as to the direction they would like to see us go and what they will be able to support,” she said.

Administrators, when promoting the referendum, said they will find themselves with a “huge gaping hole” in the educational system if the need for a new middle school is not addressed.

That is why district administrators presented a two-question, $146 million referendum to residents on March 12.

The first question asked voters if they were in favor of building a new middle school on a 35-acre site at Applegarth and Cranbury Station roads. The school would have housed 1,000 students and cost $75 million to build.

That question proposing the construction of a new middle school was defeated by 995 votes with 6,093 residents voting “no” and 5,098 residents voting “yes.”

The second question asked voters if they were in favor of building an addition to Monroe Township High School, Schoolhouse Road, at a cost of $71 million. The proposed high school addition was contingent on the passage of the middle school question.

The question proposing an addition to the high school was defeated by 1,152 votes with 6,032 residents voting “no” and 4,880 residents selecting “yes.”

Administrators said the current Monroe Township Middle School on Perrineville Road is operating beyond its functional capacity and has already required the installation of 10 temporary classroom trailers.

The middle school’s current enrollment is 1,710 students. The projected enrollment for 2021 is 2,072 students. The building, which is the district’s former high school, was constructed to house 1,100 students.

This is the second referendum put forth by the board which residents have defeated. In 2018, a $68.8 million referendum that proposed the construction of a new middle school was defeated by 143 votes.

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