To the editor,
On Nov. 5, voters in the Flemington-Raritan School District will have the opportunity to positively and affirmatively help our community move forward by passing the school bond referendum. Improving school facilities is a national issue that communities across the country are addressing because of its critical importance to the future well-being of their children. Studies have shown that nationally, 24 percent of permanent school buildings and 45 percent of portable school buildings were rated as only being fair or poor. In addition, the State of our Schools Study showed that the nation underspends by $49 billion dollars annually on school infrastructure.
New Jersey voters in disparate communities across the state have recently had the opportunity to vote on bond referendums for school construction and have overwhelmingly approved them. Rutherford, Oaklyn, Carteret, Fair Haven, and Hawthorne have all recently approved school facility/construction bonds because they have correctly recognized that it’s an investment in the positive well-being of their children and their communities.
The negative impact of poor school facilities has been well-documented in many studies and by me previously in this space. For example, poor school facilities have been directly linked to an increase in school absenteeism. Students who are chronically absent have worse academic outcomes than their peers, are more likely to be involved with criminal activity, and have higher rates of poverty in adulthood. In addition, the positive impacts that improved school facilities have on a community have also been discussed previously, such as a strong increase in property values for homeowners in communities with new/improved school facilities.
We have an opportunity to enhance our children's future and our community's economic and social well-being by passing the school bond referendum on Nov. 5 and I urge everyone to vote “yes.”