I want to take a moment to inform the public about FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence, a proposal to reinvest in the Freehold Regional High School District’s facilities without raising the property tax levy.
Yes, you read that right, our plan is to enhance building security, make critical infrastructure upgrades, modernize classrooms and update athletic facilities all without an increase in the Freehold Regional’s current tax levy.
This proposal will be put to the voters on Election Day, Nov. 5, 2019, in the form of three questions, each to be voted on separately. Please note, in order for Question 2 and/or Question 3 to pass, Question 1 must also be approved by voters.
I know many of you will ask how it is possible that a plan with this many projects will not raise the tax levy. Debt from the bonds issued from the last referendum 20 years ago will expire at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year.
FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence proposes repurposing that debt by issuing new bonds to complete the proposed projects. The expiring debt means the tax levy will not increase to pay the new bonds.
In addition, the Freehold Regional High School District will receive debt service aid from the state of New Jersey toward the projects in FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence.
If the referendum is approved by voters, the state will pick up 24% of the ensuing debt. If the referendum is not approved by voters the critical projects contained in FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence will not receive any aid toward their completion.
The Freehold Regional High School District has served as a model of efficiency for years with per pupil costs thousands of dollars below the average of similar districts across New Jersey, all while our students have benefited from an exceptional educational experience.
Despite our continued fiscal responsibility, state legislators have implemented devastating state aid cuts to Freehold Regional. Under legislation known as S-2, Freehold Regional will lose approximately $30 million in state funding.
The district will go from receiving approximately $51 million in state aid down to $21 million after the implementation period is complete.
With the decrease in state funding before us, FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence provides a unique opportunity to address a portion of the critical infrastructure work ahead of us without raising the current tax levy or affecting programming in our buildings.
I encourage everyone to be informed about the details of FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence. Please visit our website, www.frhsd.com, and follow our social media accounts to learn more about the project specifics in FRHSD: Ensuring Excellence. And please remember to vote on Nov. 5.
Charles B. Sampson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
High School District