BERKELEY‌ ‌HEIGHTS,‌ ‌NJ‌ ‌--‌ ‌Voters‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌opportunity‌ ‌to‌ ‌vote‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌referendum‌ ‌which‌ ‌will‌ ‌fund‌ ‌both‌ ‌renovations‌ ‌and‌ ‌alterations‌ ‌to‌ ‌existing‌ ‌spaces‌ ‌and‌ ‌replacement‌ ‌and‌ ‌upgrading‌ ‌of‌ ‌various‌ ‌items‌ ‌that‌ ‌fall‌ ‌under‌ ‌“capital”‌ ‌expenditures‌ ‌this‌ ‌September.‌ ‌

As part of the discussion, Business Administrator Donna Fezelloa reported the results of a survey of residents on their reaction to the district's priorities. 

For those not anticipating a referendum this year, the Board of Education began talking about a possible referendum to fund improvements at all the district schools more than a year ago, when it hosted a presentation on a project called “Reimagining Our Media Centers” for the middle and high school libraries. At the time Board President Doug Reinstein said the project has been under development for the past two years as part of the “5 Year Strategic Plan."

In February 2019,  the public saw another presentation which focused on reimagining the elementary school media centers. At the time, the price tag for changing all the libraries into media centers in the district's six schools was estimated to be $3,620,318. 

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In November 2019, the board saw a slide show presentation "Investing in our Future", which showed how the district could carry out its education and building upgrades "with no additional tax impact on residents" because of existing debt which is rolling off in coming years. This slideshow was part of the referendum planning process.  

At that time, the reimagined media centers, full day kindergarten facilities and STEM Labs  (now called STEAM Labs) and TV studio improvements were expected to cost $4.2 million. Add to that the additional cost for building investments of $2.755 million and the total cost to be financed came to just short of $7 million.

The board has two ways to accomplish its goals - through the regular budget or via a referendum, called. Option 2.  By choosing to go the referendum route, the district makes itself eligible to receive contributions from the state for up to 35% of the program costs through debt service aid according to one of the slides in that presentation. 

At the Jan. 23  meeting, the board approved a total‌ ‌of‌ ‌12‌ ‌applications‌ which ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌submitted‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌State‌ ‌Department‌ ‌of‌ ‌Education for its review and approval.‌ ‌ ‌Each of those applications lists, by school, the ‌“Educational‌ ‌Adequacy‌ ‌Projects‌ ‌and‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Projects”‌ ‌planned by the board, and the changes proposed for the‌ ‌”Long-Range‌ ‌Facilities‌ ‌Plan" for "a proposed upcoming referendum," according‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌resolution‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌agenda.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌district‌ ‌is‌ ‌submitting‌ ‌these‌ ‌changes‌ ‌in‌ ‌anticipation‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌eligible‌ ‌for‌ ‌“Debt‌ ‌Service‌ ‌Aid”‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Facilities‌ ‌Construction‌ ‌and‌ ‌Financing‌ ‌Act,‌ ‌N.J.S.A.‌ ‌1SA:7G-1,‌ ‌which‌ ‌became‌ ‌effective‌ ‌on‌ ‌July‌ ‌18,‌ ‌2000.‌ ‌The‌ ‌district‌ ‌can‌ ‌receive‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌40‌ ‌percent‌ ‌reimbursement‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌state‌ ‌for‌ ‌eligible‌ ‌projects.‌ ‌

Each‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌projects‌ ‌listed‌ ‌below‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌submitted‌ ‌in‌ ‌separate‌ ‌applications:‌ ‌

Application‌ ‌#1‌ ‌for‌ ‌Governor‌ ‌Livingston‌ ‌High‌ ‌School‌ ‌(GLHS)‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Educational‌ Adequacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌DOE‌ ‌Project‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Renovations/Alterations‌ ‌
  • STEM‌ ‌Lab‌ ‌Renovations/Alterations‌ ‌
  • TV‌ ‌Production‌ ‌Studio‌ ‌Upgrades/Alterations‌ ‌

Application‌ ‌#2‌ ‌for‌ ‌GLHS‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Various‌ ‌Doors‌ ‌-‌ ‌replacement‌ ‌and‌ ‌upgrades.‌ ‌

Application‌ ‌#3 for‌ ‌Columbia‌ ‌Middle‌ ‌School‌ ‌(CMS)‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Adequacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌DOE‌ ‌Project‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Renovations/Alterations‌ ‌
  • STEM‌ ‌Lab‌ ‌Renovations/Alterations‌ ‌

Application # 4 CMS‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • ‌Various‌ ‌Roof‌ ‌Replacements‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Window‌ ‌Replacements‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Doors‌ ‌Replacement‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌
  • Existing‌ ‌Asphalt‌ ‌Parking‌ ‌Lot‌ ‌Repaving‌ ‌ ‌

Application #5 Hughes‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Adequacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌include:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌

Application #6 Hughes‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Various‌ ‌Window‌ ‌Replacements‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Doors‌ ‌Replacement‌ ‌and‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌ ‌
  • Mechanical‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌Flooring‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌ ‌

Application #7 Mountain‌ ‌Park‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Educatonal‌ ‌Adeqacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌

Application #8 Mountain‌ ‌Park‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Various‌ ‌Roof‌ ‌Replacements‌ ‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Doors‌ ‌Replacement‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌ ‌
  • Existing‌ ‌Asphalt‌ ‌Parking‌ ‌Lot‌ ‌Repaving‌ ‌ ‌
  • Mechanical‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌

Application #9 Woodruff‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Adequacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Classroom‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌

Application #10 Woodruff‌ ‌Elementary‌ ‌School‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovation‌ ‌Components‌ ‌includes:‌ ‌

  • Various‌ ‌Roof‌ ‌Replacements‌ ‌
  • ‌Various‌ ‌Door‌ ‌Replacement‌ ‌and‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌ ‌
  • Mechanical‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌ ‌

Application #11 Mary‌ ‌Kay‌ ‌McMillin‌ ‌ECC‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Adequaacy‌ ‌Components‌ ‌include:‌ ‌

  • Media‌ ‌Center‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌
  • Various‌ ‌Classroom‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌

Application #12 Mary‌ ‌Kay‌ ‌McMillin‌ ‌ECC‌ ‌Capital‌ ‌Renovations‌ ‌Components‌ ‌include:‌ ‌

  • Various‌ ‌Door‌ ‌Replacement‌ ‌and‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌
  • Mechanical‌ ‌Upgrades‌ ‌