VIDEO: A Comprehensive Overview of the 2016 Referendum; Special Election to be Held on Sept. 27

Dr. Christine Burton, Superintendent of Millburn Township Public Schools speaks on the 2016 Referendum Credits: Millburn Township Public Schools

MILLBURN, NJ - In less than two weeks Millburn Township residents will go to the polls to cast their vote on the "investing In Excellence" Referendum.  If it passes, the Referendum will provide funding; to purchase and renovate the Washington Day School to be used as a consolidated fifth grade, to provide curriculum based additions to the high school and middle school, to make heath and safety improvements at all Township schools and to create innovation, research and design spaces throughout the District.  

Proposed infrastructure improvements include;

Deerfield School

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  • Window air-conditioners in each classroom
  • Eight bathrooms will be renovated
  • Additional resources for third and fourth-grade classrooms
  • Additional space for music
  • Additional resources for R&D spaces, 3D printing, furniture, storage

Glenwood School

  • Window air conditioners in each classroom
  • Fifth-grade classrooms repurposed for third grade
  • Trailers removed, third grade classrooms will return to main building
  • Media center and one classroom will be renovated
  • 11 bathrooms will be renovated

Hartshorn School

  • Window air conditioners in each classroom
  • Three fifth grade classrooms re-purposed and renovated for R&D spaces, 3D printing, furniture and storage
  • Current fifth grade classroom re-purposed for Special Ed, video conferencing and instrumental music
  • 12 bathrooms will be renovated

Middle School

  • Multipurpose room converted to innovation, R&D spaces
  • Addition of a new multi-use space for physical education and large group meetings
  • 21 bathrooms will be renovated

High School

  • New media center and library
  • Renovation of current media center converted to R&D spaces, 3D printing, furniture, storage
  • 18 bathrooms will be renovated

South Mountain School

  • Fifth grade classrooms to be repurposed for music, special education and ELL classrooms
  • Additional resources for R&D spaces, 3D printing, furniture, storage
  • 2 bathrooms will be renovated
  • Window air conditioners in each classroom

Wyoming School           

  • Window air conditioners in each classroom
  • Current fifth grade classrooms repurposed for music and resource center classrooms
  • Media center renovated for R&D spaces, 3D printing, furniture, storage
  • Eight bathrooms will be renovated

The State has determined that it will provide debt service aid in the amount of $7,618,199 on the proposed referendum projects. That brings the net cost of the proposed referendum to $17,974,977 from the total cost of $25,593,176

According to the district, the “Investing in Excellence” proposal meets the aspirations of the community and the competitive educational needs of our students. This program of building improvements has a positive impact at each grade level, will protect school investments, insure high academic standing for years to come and will alleviate overcrowding. 

If the Referendum is voted down, Millburn Township board of education members will have to find alternative ways to manage the growing student population, address student quality of life issues within the existing and constrained budget as well as to figure out how to remain competitive as one of the highest ranked school districts in New Jersey and the U.S with limited resources.   

Furthermore, there will never be another opportunity to purchase the four-acre Washington School in the future, the school district will lose $7.6 million in State debt service aid and the District would being redistricting of all five elementary schools to rebalance the Township's student population.  According to the BOE, a soft borders enrollment process would be implemented, causing newly enrolled students to be assigned to a school and grade where there is space available regardless of geographic proximity to a school.  Lastly, building renovations and expansion of current facilities, innovation and maker spaces, along with health and safety upgrades would have to be deferred.

If voters do not allow the District to exercise its first right of refusal to purchase the Washington School, then the Township will have the opportunity to purchase it using tax dollars, or through debt financing, to fund the purchase.  If the Township declines, then the property will be open to competitive bidding by any purchaser, such as a residential or commercial developer.  

According to the Referendum website's tax impact calculator, the financial impact will be $12.39 per $100,000 per year based on assessed home values until the bond is paid off.

This video provides a comprehensive overview of the “Investing in Excellence” Referendum.  For additional information, please visit the Referendum Website.

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