NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Board of Education passed a resolution accepting the School Facilities Consolidation Plan they have been working on in depth for the past three years.

The March meeting at the High School was busy with a tour of the building and a couple of presentations.  The resolution was on the agenda and was passed with only one no vote cast by Anthony Neggers.   The resolution goes into effect immediately, authorizing actions that will move the facilities plan ahead, as enumerated in the resolution.

Neggers’ argument was that he had been hearing complaints and concerns from residents about increase the addition would have on the taxes in Newton.

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In the Board of education meeting held at Merriam Avenue School on March 20, Donna Snyder, the Board’s Business Administrator explained the costs of the addition coming out to be $18.95 million, “which breaks down to $13.96 million for general construction, $1.2 million for site development and $3.79 million for soft costs.”

Snyder also pointed out that the “annual property tax impact would be $182 per $100,000 of assessed value.”

 “Whereas, the Board of Education of the Town of Newton School District in the County of Sussex, New Jersey (the “Board”), in connection with its plan to decommission the Halsted Middle School, seeks to submit a school facilities project to the School District voters consisting of the renovation and expansion of Merriam Avenue School and the reconfiguration o such school in a grades k-8 school (collectively, the “Project”); and

Whereas, the Board intends to apply to the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) for annual State Debt Service Aid on the school bonds issued by the Board to finance the project; and

Whereas, the Board now desires to take the following five initial actions in order to proceed with the planning and authorizing of the Project and the conduct of a Special School District Election to be held on September 26, 2017, at which the Project shall be presented to the School District voters:

  1. Approval of the submission of an application to NJDOE requesting NJDOE permission to expand the Merriam Avenue School instead of renovating the Halsted Meddle School
  2. Approval of the submission of an application to NJDOE requesting NJDOE permission to decommission the Halsted Middle School
  3. Approval of the preparation and submission of Project Educational Specifications and Schematic Plans and Drawings and a State debt service aid application for the Project (collectively, the “Project Applications”)
  4. Authorization of an amendment to the School District Long Range Facilities Plan (“LRFP”), as applicable
  5. Authorization of the submission of the Project Applications and the amended LRFP to the Sussex County Superintendent of Schools, NJDOE, and the Newton Planning Board, as applicable

The Newton Board of Education anticipates the preliminary work to be done in time for a referendum vote on September 26, 2017. The special election will ask the community to support the plan to bring the facilities to the level that will better meet the educational needs of the students in Newton now and in the future, according to district administrators.

The Board of Education’s next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 25 and will be at Halsted Middle School in the Library. A tour of the facility will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m.