MILLBURN, NJ — After a lengthy process, voters went to the polls on Jan. 28 to decide the outcome of the Capital & Maintenance Plan (C&MP) referendum. Polls were open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and when the votes were counted, the measure had passed.
The final unofficial results from the Essex County Clerk were as follows:
At hand for the voters to decide on was a $20,500,000 plan, in which the money would be put to use for repairs and upgrades across the district. Some of the many projects that were slated to be financed by these bonds were roof replacements at Deerfield, Glenwood, South Mountain and Hartshorn Elementary Schools, as well other masonry and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant facilities.
For Dr. Christine Burton, Superintendent of the Millburn School District, the support from the voters in passing the referendum is key, as it will allow the board to do what they looked to accomplish around the district.
"As we talked through this whole process with the community, this was the next phase, the next mindset shift in our work," Burton said. "We knew that in the 2016 referendum, there were still many projects left to do, and so this is saying, 'we're picking up, and we're continuing the good work that we're doing to improve security, [and] the environments for our kids.'"
One key aspect of the referendum centered around creating security vestibules at the main entrances of schools all around the district. As Burton noted, modern schools face modern security challenges, and the referendum will allow the district to face them more proactively.
"After the security audit, and we are following through with the recommendations from StoneGate Assosciates that said security vestibules is the number one best practice that we're recommending," Burton said. "We're taking that recommendation, we truly want to be able to say we're taking every step that we can and every measure that we can to ensure the safety of our students when they're in our schools."
The referendum will also deal with improvements to the cafeteria at the Millburn Middle School, which Burton noted was key, as shared spaces in the district are just as important for student growth as classroom learning.