FAIR LAWN, NJ - Today is the day to let your voice be heard on the $25 million referendum to expand the district's two middle schools, the Board of Education's solution to its expanding student enrollment.
Polls are open today, Tuesday, March 13 until 8 p.m.
For the average homeowner with an assessed home value of $327,486, the expansion will increase their tax bill $105 annually or $9 monthly.
The proposed expansion of Thomas Jefferson and Memorial Middle Schools will move the fifth-grade students from the six elementary schools to the two middle schools, providing a solution to district overcrowding.
Student enrollment is project to increase by 500 in the next five years, according to a demographic study.
The most recent enrollment numbers reflect a total of 5,098 pupils.
An $11.4 million expansion of Memorial Middle School will add nine new classrooms and an expanded media center which will enlarge by 3,000 square feet. In Thomas Jefferson, $11.9 million in improvements are proposed which will involve an addition of 14 new classrooms and a “cafetorium” or multi-purpose room for the fifth-grade. Kitchen upgrades and new elevators to link the two-story buildings are also proposed.
A $600,000 air-conditioning unit for Fair Lawn High School is also factored into the $25 million project, a bond officials say would be paid off in 25 years.
If voters approve the referendum, school officials said the new buildings will be slated for completion in three years, and they would scrap their current soft borders policy – in place for the past year. The policy mandates new homeowners who purchased a house or signed a lease agreement after July 1, 2017 to be subject to a reassignment of their child to a different school not corresponding with their home address. Eighteen students have been affected by the policy since September, according to Board Secretary Brooke Bartley.