MILLBURN, NJ — In a presentation on the final night before the referendum election, Millburn Superintendent Dr. Christine Burton outlined the Capital & Maintenance Plan (C&MP) at the Board of Education (BOE) meeting.
First, an overview. C&MP is a plan by the Millburn School District to improve and maintain school district facilites. As former BOE member and C&MP architect Emily Jaffe explained during a barnstorming tour for the referendum, the majority of the district's budget is tied up in salaries, leaving little discretionary income for work projects.
The referendum is different from a traditional budgetary measure, as it is a vote to allow the district to sell bonds and incur debt. C&MP is a request for taxpayers approve the sale of bonds to fund capital and maintenance projects.
C&MP would give the district and additional $20,500,000 dollars with which to make major improvements. Many of the district's buildings are aging, and are, or soon will be in need of major repairs. Infrastructure improvements make up the majority of the money in the plan at $12,932,070. Roofs, windows and exterior doors will all be upgraded and replaced under the project.
As Burton noted in her presentation before the board, the other major upgrades center around expanding the middle school cafeteria, and creating security vestibules at all the school entrances across the district to increase student safety.
In applying for C&MP now, the district will look to address maintenance project in real-time when they occur. Additionally, the new debt from C&MP is being financed at the same level as the expiring debt in the district, meaning no tax increase for taxpayers in town. Additionally, C&MP will allow the school district to access state aid, up to 40 cents on the dollar for capital projects.
As Burton emphasized, the board is simply looking to make the appropriate steps now to avoid a major cost in the future.
Polls opened for voting in the C&MP referendum at 6:00 a.m. this morning, and will be open until 8:00 p.m. this evening.