SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Residents of South Plainfield on March 28 approved a school bond referendum that will fund over 60 projects at the district’s seven buildings but also rejected the district’s proposal to construct a turf field at the Jost Field Athletic Complex.
The polls closed at 8 p.m. and shortly after preliminary results began trickling in to borough hall. According to unofficial results available at press time, Question #1 passed by a vote of 1,424 to 1,025. Question #2, which was contingent upon passage of the first question, failed by 106 votes; 1,249 residents opposed a turf field while 1,143 were in favor.
Passage of Question #1 provides the South Plainfield School District to ability move forward with projects totaling a little over $28 million – had Question #2 passed, the bond total would have been approximately $29.5 million. The district anticipates one-third – or around $9.5 million - of final eligible project costs to be offset by state aid.
“I want to thank the voters for their patience with the delay of the election and for coming out on such a lousy day to cast their vote,” said Bill Seesslberg, president of the South Plainfield Board of Education, adding, “The resources made available in this bond issue will be put toward fixing a lot of the physical problems our buildings have as well as increasing the opportunities for our students, now and in the future.”
“I appreciate the residents of South Plainfield who made the right decision for the future of our children. This bond referendum was long overdue and necessary for the growth of the district,” said Chere Glover, vice president of the South Plainfield Board of Education, adding, “The passing of this referendum puts South Plainfield school facilities in major transformation, for the health and safety of our children.”
Question #1 includes 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. Question #1 also includes a new fire 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, Question #1 also allocates money for 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.
"Thank you, the South Plainfield community, for recognizing the importance of our school district's needs by supporting the referendum. With your support, we can now upgrade our facilities, put in a state-of-the-art STEM labs, as well as upgrade and replace many areas of Jost Field," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Noreen Lishak. “Your dedication to the town and school district showed today.”
Question #2, which was contingent upon the passage of Question #1, pertained specifically to the field at the Jost Athletic Complex and asked the public to approve the installation of a turf field. “While I am disappointed that Question #2 did not pass, there were many improvements for the athletic complex that will be address as a result of the passage of Question #1. Hopefully, in the future, we can improve the field as well as the rest of the facility,” said Seesslberg.
“I would personally like to thank Superintendent of Schools Dr. Noreen Lishak and Business Administrator James Damato for their tireless efforts to support the board's vision to upgrade our district facilities," said Glover. "Our district now has effective leadership that works diligently with the board to keep transparency available for the community."
“I want to thank Dr. Lishak and Mr. Damato for all their hard work and diligence,” added board of education member Jim Giannakis. “This is a victory for all our students.”
Board member Tom Cassio said, “I’m excited for the children and the residents of South Plainfield. Our educational system – between our new administration and the passage of this referendum – is headed in the right direction.”
Board member and former president Debbie Boyle added, “I am thrilled that Question #1 passed. We are in desperate need of repairs and upgrades to our schools – far more than our budgets can necessitate. Dr. Lishak and Mr. Damato did a tremendous job explaining and demonstrating our direct needs.”
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