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Princeton voters asked to approve $12.9 million school bond referendum

if approved, owner of a house assessed at the town average to pay an additional $104 per year in property taxes

Princeton voters are being asked to approve a $12.9 million bond referendum in the Nov. 7 general election that would provide money for security and technology upgrades at the six district schools.

Early voting on the general election ballot, which includes the bond referendum question, ends Nov. 5. Voters who missed early voting will have a chance to act on the bond referendum question on Nov. 7. The polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The State of New Jersey will contribute about $5 million in debt service toward payments for the projects that are focused on security, renovations and major maintenance, school district officials said. The owner of a house assessed at the town average of $848,037 would pay an additional $104 per year in property taxes.

There are four areas of focus in the bond referendum. Safety and security measures will cost $4 million, and wellness and sustainability will account for $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 security and camera upgrades and protective window film. In addition, Princeton Middle School and Princeton High School will get upgraded doors and locks. Security vestibules will be added to the main entrance and to the Performing Arts Center entrance at Princeton High School.

The recommended safety measures grew out of a walk-through of the schools by the Princeton Police Department earlier this year, officials said.

The six schools will receive technology upgrades to a 10-gigabit network to ensure reliable internet service in the classrooms. At the Johnson Park School, cell service boosters are planned because signals are routinely weak, officials said.

The Community Park School, the Johnson Park School, the Riverside School and the Littlebrook School will each receive minor playground equipment upgrades. The playground upgrades at the Littlebrook School and the Riverside School will increase their accessibility to children of differing abilities.

Playground drainage improvements also will be made at the Community Park School, the Littlebrook School and the Riverside School. Students are sometimes forced to play on the asphalt during recess because of poor drainage, officials said.

Fencing replacements will be made at the four elementary schools, also.

At the Princeton Middle School, improvements will be made to the playground. The swimming pool will get new lighting, starting blocks and pads, officials said.

The Princeton High School cafeteria will be renovated to improve the flow of students at lunchtime. A variety of seating options are included, as well as more cashier stations. Seating will be increased by 50% to about 400 seats.

Kitchen renovations include the installation of a commercial dishwasher, which will reduce reliance on plastic utensils. Serving and cooking equipment will be modernized, as needed.

Also at Princeton High School, the Eco-lab will receive repairs to the detention basin walls, and the athletic field will get new turf. The track will be resurfaced.

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