FLEMINGTON, NJ – No bells. No whistles.
That’s how Flemington-Raritan School District Superintendent Kari McGann describes the $42 million referendum that voters will be asked to approve in November.
The referendum, which the K-8 school board approved at its meeting Monday, will be divided into two questions.
The first question – “Safety, Security and Structure” – would authorize borrowing $21.755 million. The second question – “Indoor Air Quality” seeks $20.308 million.
Each would authorize borrowing the money using a 20-year bond. But local taxpayers wouldn’t foot the entire bill, McGann said. That’s because the state has agreed to pay $14 million towards the project, which represents 40 percent of “final eligible costs.”
The first question seeks upgrades to each of the district’s six schools. They’d receive security upgrades and improvements including cameras, equipment, communication system and door/alarm upgrades; site improvements including parking lot upgrades, sidewalk, curb, fencing and drainage improvements; roof replacement at all schools (except at J.P. Case Middle School); and window replacement and external building repairs at Reading-Fleming Intermediate School.
The second question seeks approval for indoor air quality upgrades – including air conditioning and humidity control measures – at all schools except at J.P. Case. That school already has air conditioning and humidity control measures in place.
Copper Hill School also has air conditioning. But the school has had humidity problems in the past and was the first district school that had a delayed opening last year because of fungus and air quality issues.
McGann said that approval for the second question hinges on voters also approving the first question. That’s because the HVAC improvements covered under the second question require the repairs covered under the first. Approval of both questions would avoid future “Band-Aid” fixes, McGann said, and would be expected to avoid any other needed major work for 20 years.
Data released by the school district show the work would cost Flemington residents 4.3 cents annually per $100 of a property’s assessed value, or $43 annually per $100,000 of assessed value.
Raritan Township residents would pay 6.8 cents annually per $100 of a property’s assessed value, or $68 annually per $100,000 of assessed value.
McGann said there will be many opportunities for residents to learn more about the plan. They will include Raritan Township Community Day on Sept. 28 from noon to 5 p.m. at Lenape Park; the Superintendent Roundtable event on Oct. 1, from 9:30-11 a.m. at Robert Hunter Elementary School; Realtor and Pre-Schools Open Houses in October; and at school board meetings on Sept. 9, Sept. 23, Oct. 14, and Oct. 28.
Election Day is Nov. 5.
More information is available on the school district website.