COLTS NECK – The Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education will place a $25.24 million referendum before voters during a special election on Sept. 24.
The referendum is expected to address three broad categories: Safety and Security; Health and Compliance; and (being) Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly.
The Sept. 24 referendum will be held about one year after voters rejected a two-question $34.6 million facilities improvement referendum in October 2018.
The first question in the 2018 vote asked residents to consider making $24.84 million in improvements and renovations. The question was defeated 842 “no” to 671 “yes.”
The second question in the 2018 vote asked residents to consider spending $9.79 million for various projects. The question was defeated 971 “no” to 532 “yes.”
On April 3, Superintendent of Schools MaryJane Garibay announced the district would place a new referendum on the ballot on Sept. 24.
The Safety and Security component will propose replacing doors, hardware and locks in schools, and the paving and reconfiguration of the Conover Road parking lot.
The Health and Compliance component will propose new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical systems and mechanical systems.
Being Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly will propose the replacement of roofing and windows, and the installation of LED lighting.
Garibay provided the following breakdown of the proposed work:
• $11.36 million at the Conover Road Elementary School, consisting of $7.6 million for Health and Compliance; $1.93 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $1.83 million for Safety and Security;
• $10.48 million at the Cedar Drive Middle School, consisting of $7.93 million for Health and Compliance; $1.52 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $648,500 for Safety and Security;
• $2.45 million for the reconfiguration of the Conover Road parking lot (Safety and Security);
• $960,000 for Safety and Security upgrades at the Conover Road Primary School.
Garibay said the defeated 2018 referendum proposed the replacement of asbestos tiles in five classrooms and the replacement of casework in eight classrooms. Those costs have been included in the district’s 2019-20 budget.
She said renovations to the Cedar Drive Middle School auditorium and building access control system, which were included in the 2018 referendum, are not included in the Sept. 24 referendum or in the 2019-20 budget.
Garibay said administrators chose to hold the referendum on Sept. 24 – which is one of the dates permitted by the New Jersey Department of Education – to have enough time to obtain bonds for the 2020-21 school year if the referendum is approved.
She said the bonds must be completed by the end of 2019. The referendum is eligible for up to 40% payment from the state. Administrators anticipate the district will receive 34% of the eligible project costs in state aid.
The full scope of the referendum will be presented during a board meeting on June 5. The details are expected to be finalized during a board meeting on June 19. The board meetings will begin at 7 p.m. in the district’s administration building, 70 Conover Road, Colts Neck, and are open to the public.