The Hillsborough Township Public School District Board of Education has voted for approval to proceed with a referendum vote set for December.
The decision from the school board was unanimously approved at an Oct. 14 meeting, where the nine school board members approved a Dec. 10 referendum vote election.
If voted in favor, district officials said the referendum would finance $35.4 million required to address critical capital expenditures across the district’s nine school buildings. Officials said these improvements are not possible to fund through its operating budget.
“The decision is timely as the state will contribute 40% (approximately $14 million) towards the total project cost,” Hillsborough Township Public Schools Director of Human Resources Michael Callahan said in a statement. “This funding from the state will not be available if the referendum does not pass. Additionally, the district is retiring debt from previous referenda in 2021-2022, which means that if the referendum passes, taxes will decrease by $42 for the average Hillsborough residence with a property value of $350,000.”
The decision from the school board to sponsor an election for the referendum comes after a previous referendum vote was held earlier this year in March when it failed to pass the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program. District officials said the December referendum is not related to the one turned down in March.
Officials also said that there is no consideration for the building of any new school buildings in this referendum. According to officials, if approved, the referendum would finance projects across the district such as roofing, air quality (HVAC), power and lighting upgrades, exterior repairs, and security and more.
“The quality of life for our students, staff, and the community is key and never before has it been more opportune to invest in that quality of life,” said acting superintendent, Lisa M. Antunes, in a statement. “The retired debt, state contribution and low interest rates create a unique opportunity to revive a failing infrastructure.”
Officials said that informative events pertaining the referendum for voters are planned to be held, which will include facility tours and a full presentation to the community at the Nov. 11 board of education meeting.