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Princeton voters approve $12.9 million school bond referendum

A proposed $12.9 million school bond referendum to address security and technology upgrades won overwhelming support from Princeton voters in the Nov. 7 general election.

It was approved by a vote of 4,070 to 1,706 votes, according to unofficial results released by the Mercer County Clerk’s Office.

The vote tallies are unofficial until the Mercer County Clerk’s Office certifies them later this month. The vote tallies included early voting and Election Day voting.

Vote-by-mail ballots that were received after 8 p.m. Nov. 7 and provisional ballots had not been tallied by Nov. 8.

The State of New Jersey will contribute about $5 million toward debt service payments for the improvements. It will offset the local tax impact, which is estimated at $104 for the owner of a house assessed at the town average of $848,037.

“This funding will enable us to make crucial security upgrades. It will allow us to add seating to the Princeton High School cafeteria and improve Wi-Fi at the schools,” said school board president Dafna Kendal.

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 about 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.

All of the schools will receive security and camera upgrades and protective window film. 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 the high school.

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 and Riverside schools will increase their accessibility to children of differing abilities.

Playground drainage improvements also will be made at the Community Park, Littlebrook and Riverside schools.

Fencing replacements will be made at the four elementary schools.

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.

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