What is the cost of the voted down referendum in Monroe?

As we know now, the Monroe Township school referendums have been voted down twice by the overtaxed residents of Monroe. Yes, we badly need the new school and the expansion of the 9-year-old high school – but at what cost?

The reasons, in my opinion, are:

  • Lack of proper state funding to our Board of Education, now $5.9 million on a budget that is about $130 million and growing. This equates to about $800 per student for more than 6,500 students, and growing.
  • Monroe taxpayers were paying about 95 percent of the total cost for the Board of Education.
  • No help from the state Supreme Court, leaders in Trenton, the commissioner of Education, Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-14) and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14) for more than 11 years knowing about our growing problems.
  • Voters did not believe that if the $147 million was passed, it would only equate to about $425 more per year. From past experience during the construction process, taxes would continue to grow each year to support the construction.
  • The state promised that if the referendum passed for $147 million they would give us $18 million toward the construction – but payable during the life of the bond (30 years) or about $600,000 per year – which wouldn’t cover the interest on the bonds. Other districts receive much more and it is paid as the construction progresses.
  • When the high school was built, upon completion our school board administrator had to fight the state to receive the last $5 million of the $15 million promised by the state. So would you trust the state for 30 years?
  • In many cases our residents don’t believe that the township administration has fought hard enough to get our fair share in school funding.
  • Lastly, the uncontrollable construction of family communities adds to the already overcrowded schools. Our children cannot receive a thorough and efficient education in overcrowded classrooms.

The outcome will be that the state will order our Board of Education to sell bonds to build the schools, which means our votes did not count.

Mark Klein
Former Board of Education member