SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield School District’s bond referendum vote – postponed earlier this month – will, barring a freak spring snowstorm, take place tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28.

“It is important for the community to be involved in the voting process in order to pass this much-needed bond referendum,” Dr. Noreen Lishak, superintendent of South Plainfield Schools, told TAPinto South Plainfield.

Residents may cast their ballot for the proposed $29.5 million referendum from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. with voting taking place at the same assigned polling sites as they would in a June primary or November general election; those unsure where to vote, can visit https://voter.njsvrs.com/PublicAccess/jsp/Home.jsp for information.  

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The estimated $29.5 million bond referendum proposed by the district is broken into two questions and comprised of over 60 projects among its seven buildings and Jost Field Athletic Complex.

A state aid reimbursement of approximately 40-percent – or $9.5 million – is anticipated to cover eligible project costs. Based on a home with an average assessment of $122,038, passage of both bond referendum questions would result in an estimated $137.12/year tax increase for taxpayers with the first payment due in 2018. Former debt associated with the construction of Roosevelt School will expire in 2022.

Over the past two months, district officials have held close to a dozen public bond meetings and have also visited various community groups and organizations to discuss the need to bond for necessary upgrades and renovations. According to Dr. Lishak, there are limited funds in the school district’s annual budget for large capital projects.

“This is due to the 2-percent tax levy cap by the state,” Dr. Lishak. “Therefore, bonding for monies to support the projects included in the bond is necessary.”

Projects listed in the bond referendum, according to the district’s Interim Business Administrator James Damato, will only get more expensive as time goes on. Not passing the referendum at this time will prevent these improvements from being made and the building needs will continue to get worse,” said Damato.

For this bond referendum, the district, said Damato, has applied for and obtained commitments for funding from the state. “In the future, these commitments may not be available,” he said, noting that, “at the present time, interest rates on tax exempt bonds such as the ones proposed by the referendum are very favorable.”

Projects included in the proposed bond referendum are as follows:

Question #1:

• Instructional, safety and facilities projects, including but not limited to, new windows, flooring, roofs, security cameras, heating and ventilation systems, ADA compliant bathrooms, and updated electrical panels

• Removal of asbestos

• Removal and replacement of paving, sidewalks, curbs and parking lots

• New fire alarm system at Grant School

• Renovations to the science labs at both South Plainfield High School and South Plainfield Middle School

• Construction of a new STEM lab at South Plainfield High School

• New doors at South Plainfield Middle School

• Jost Field Athletic Complex: 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

• A turf field at the Jost Athletic Complex

Please note: Passage of Question #2 is contingent upon the passage of Question #1. Passage of Question #1 is not contingent on the passage of Question #2.

For a complete list of projects and the estimated costs can be downloaded from the South Plainfield School District’s website (http://spboe.org/cms/lib3/NJ01001778/Centricity/Domain/4/Referendum%20Projects%20List.pdf).

Additional information is also available online at http://spboe.org/cms/lib3/NJ01001778/Centricity/Domain/4/FAQ_Booklet.pdf as well as on the South Plainfield School District's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/spboe.org/?ref=br_rs). 

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