Safety and Security Are Top Priority in South Plainfield’s Proposed Bond Referendum

Kennedy Elementary School
Franklin Elementary School
South Plainfield High School
Grant School
South Plainfield Middle School
Frank R. Jost Field

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Board of Education on Dec. 21, at its last meeting of 2016, unanimously approved moving forward with plans to seek an estimated $29.5 million referendum this spring.

Through the referendum, comprised of two questions set to go out to a public vote in March, the district intends to conduct over 60 projects among its seven buildings as well as Frank R. Jost Field.  

“The proposed referendum is necessary to improve our district facilities and instruction programs. The district facilities are in need of equipment upgrades and replacements that just cannot be met through our annual general budget,” said Superintendent of South Plainfield Schools Dr. Noreen Lishak in an interview with TAPinto South Plainfield.

Sign Up for E-News

“The projects approved by the board for consideration in the referendum include upgrades and replacements of equipment while also addressing safety concerns,” she said.

According to James Damato, South Plainfield’s interim business administrator, the district anticipates receiving a state aid reimbursement of approximately 40-percent of the projects’ preliminary eligible costs. Based on the estimated $29.5 million bond, one-third – around $9.5 million - of the final eligible project costs would be offset by aid.

“The state has agreed to pay 40-percent of the eligible costs,” said Damato, noting that South Plainfield’s financial advisor advised the board of education that moving forward with the bond at this time would be in the district’s best interest because the state could cease future funding for capitol projects in all school districts.

“We know that Governor Christie stopped all public works projects over the summer; he could in theory stop school capitol project funding again in the future,” he said.

Under the the proposed $29.5 million referendum, the estimated cost to taxpayers – based on a home with an average assessment of $122,000 – would be around $134.84/year; South Plainfield taxpayers would see the first payment due in 2018 with former debt associated with the construction of Roosevelt School expiring in 2022.

In its final, proposed form the bond referendum will focus on two questions:

Question #1 will include instructional, safety and facilities projects, including but not limited to, new windows, flooring, roofs, security cameras, heating and ventilation systems, ADA compliant bathrooms, and electrical panels as well as removal of asbestos, and removal and replacement of paving, sidewalks, curbs and parking lots. 

“Each year, the district continues to utilize funds to repair outdated and inefficient equipment,” said Dr. Lishak. “By replacing single-pane windows and upgrade heating and ventilation systems in the schools, the district would see a significant savings.”

Question #1 also includes a new fie alarm system at Grant School, renovations to the science labs at both the high school and middle school, and the construction of a new high school STEM lab along with new doors at the middle school.

Additionally, this question focuses on projects at the district’s Jost Field Athletic Complex, including a new synthetic track, a new field house with ADA complaint bathrooms, new visitor bleachers, and a new press box as well as renovated and refurbished home bleachers.

Question #2, which will be contingent upon the passage of Question #1, pertains specifically to the field at the Jost Athletic Complex and asks the public to approve the installation of a turf field.

According to Damato, a turf field would be available for use for back-to-back games by the district’s male and female athletes, including but not limited to, the district’s soccer, field hockey, and football teams along with high school marching band.

“Currently, the existing grass field can only accommodate weekly football games,” he said.

The bond will go out for public vote on Friday, March 17. Both Dr. Lishak and Damato will be meeting with community organizations and PTOs, beginning in early January and running through to the referendum date. The goal of these meetings is to inform the public about the referendum and the need for the projects that are includes. Additionally, videos highlighting the proposed projects will be posted on the South Plainfield School District website as well as in TAPinto South Plainfield.

“South Plainfield is a wonderful and involved community and I believe the residents understand the need for the proposed improvements to our facilities, as well as the opportunity to build a STEM lab at the high school. Additionally, we will be upgrading the science labs in both the middle school and high school, which haven't been upgraded in decades,” said Dr. Lishak.

“Many of these proposed projects should have been addressed years ago, however, annual budget constraints just didn't allow it, leaving the district in the position we are in today,” added the superintendent, noting that the South Plainfield School District can no longer ‘continue to Band-Aid the problems.’

“It is time to replace our outdated and inefficient equipment and upgrade our facilities. Now is the time to present the referendum to the community. Tax -free bond interest rates are low. In addition, the state has agreed to pay 40-percent of the cost,” said D. Lishak. “The South Plainfield community is a strong supporter of education and I believe the community will recognize the importance of supporting the referendum come March.”

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield


Chief Michael J. Cleary, Sr. 66, of South Plainfield, died suddenly on July 14, 2018. Born and ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Carly Kensey Graduates from ECU

July 13, 2018

GREENVILLE, NC -- Carly Kensey of South Plainfield graduated with a BA-Psychology from East Carolina University during spring commencement exercises May 4 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The fireworks capped off a new format for ECU's 109th spring commencement ceremony, which was held in the evening for the first time.

The keynote speaker for commencement was Linda McMahon, administrator of ...

Community Happenings

Adult “crafternoon” at the South Plainfield Public Library

July 15, 2018

Crafting isn't just for kids anymore!  Come to the South Plainfield Library on Saturday July 28 at 2pm for a fun filled “crafternon” for adults with crafter Patricia Dahl.  Crafters will be decorating a wine bottle. We will supply all the materials, just come and enjoy! If you have a glue gun at home, if you could bring it to the craft program.  Registration is ...

Frist Baptist Church of South Plainfield to Host Annual Vacation Bible School

July 17, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - First Baptist Church of South Plainfield will be holding their annual Vacation Bible School program the week of August 6-10 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. This free VBS program is open to children entering Kindergarten through entering 6th grade. Children will participate in this exciting experience learning how God is faithful and keeps His promises through Bible stories, songs, ...

South Plainfield Police Hiring Per-Diem Dispatchers

The South Plainfield Police Department is accepting applications for Per-Diem Police Dispatcher.  The following are the minimum requirements for applicants:

Must be at least 18 years of age
Must have a High School diploma or GED
Must be certified in 9-1-1, EMD and CPR
Must pass a background check and a computerized Dispatch test
Must be able to multi-task while using Police, ...


Diegnan Bill to Establish Asset Forfeiture Reporting and Transparency Requirements Passes Senate

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD) – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that establishes asset forfeiture reporting and transparency requirements passed the full Senate today.

“Across New Jersey, law enforcement can confiscate cash, cars and other property from people, often without ever charging them with a crime,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex) “While ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)


Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...


Come join us Monday, July 23 at 6:30 PM for Monday Night Movies.  This week’s selection stars Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, and it follows their characters as they journey across the country in a RV, rekindling their passion for life and their romance.  It is rated R.  If you cannot make it to the Monday night showing, there is a second screening on Wednesday, July 25 ...

Press Releases

ICE ERO Newark Arrests 37 Individuals in Middlesex County During Enforcement Surge

July 18, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office arrested 37 individuals during a five-day operation that concluded Friday, as part of the agency’s ongoing public safety efforts. The operation targeted criminal aliens who were previously incarcerated at the Middlesex County Jail (MCJ), and who were subsequently ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...