Princeton voters will be asked to approve a $12.9 million school bond referendum in November to provide money for security and technology upgrades at the six district schools.
The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education approved the proposed bond referendum at its Aug. 22 meeting. The referendum will be placed on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
The State of New Jersey will pick up 31% of the debt service and property owners will pay the rest, said school district Business Administrator Matthew Bouldin. The owner of a house assessed at the town average of $848,037 would pay $103.72 more per year for school debt service.
There are four areas of focus in the bond referendum. Safety and security measures will account for $4 million, and wellness and sustainability will cost $3.5 million. Major maintenance projects are expected to cost $3 million, and technology upgrades will cost $2.3 million.
All of the schools will receive new doors and locks, security camera upgrades and protective window film. Princeton High School will get two security vestibules.
The recommended safety measures were the result of a walk-through of the schools by the Princeton Police Department in June, Bouldin said.
The six schools will receive technology upgrades to a 10-GIG network. The Johnson Park School will also get improvements to its Wi-Fi network.
Princeton High School will get an upgrade to its Ecolab instructional wetlands habitat. The athletic field and track will be refurbished, and the cafeteria will be renovated.
At the Princeton Middle School, improvements will be made to the swimming pool.
Fencing replacements and minor playground updates will be made at the four elementary schools. Drainage work is planned for the playground areas at the Community Park School and the Littlebrook School.
The $12.9 bond referendum is the third one in five years. Voters approved a $26.9 million bond referendum in 2018 and a $17.5 million bond referendum in 2022.
The 2018 bond referendum included money for renovations and classroom additions to Princeton High School; installing air conditioning in classrooms in the elementary schools and the middle school; renovations to the middle school; security upgrades and electrical upgrades.
The 2022 bond referendum earmarked money to replace leaky roofs and to install new siding on some of the schools. Masonry repairs were needed on the tower at Princeton High School. Additional improvements were made to the heating ventilation and air conditioning systems.
“It seems like we keep doing these referendums, but we also are looking at specific things our schools need,” School board member Deborah Bronfeld said, noting “the projects are more manageable for the entire staff.”
“(A bond referendum) is a great way to get these projects done. The operating budget can’t support it. This is the best way for us to take care of our schools.”