WEST CALDWELL, NJ — West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta addressed a current situation regarding full-day kindergarten during the council meeting on Tuesday.

Tempesta and members of the council members attended the regular Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education meeting on Monday to learn more about the district’s plans.

According to Tempesta, he and other council members were surprised at some of the numerical figures revealed during the meeting. The current proposed bond referendum is $26 million, which will be used to complete an addition to the Grover Cleveland Middle School in order to accommodate the fifth-grade students.

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This will then make room in each of the elementary schools for full-day kindergarten, according to the council. There will also be a new gymnasium and cafeteria at the middle school in addition to the additional classroom spaces.

“This is the reason the amount is so much higher than the $12-to-14 million we originally expected,” said Tempesta.

However, he said, this does not include the amount needed to hire additional staff. This is an additional bond, which will also be submitted to the state for approval. 

Currently, the board is awaiting a response from the state as to how much it will be reimbursed and then the board will vote. According to Tempesta, the public is expected to vote on this matter sometime in September.

While the mayor and council support most of the district’s plan, they are hoping the board of education will look into additional ways to cut down on the cost. With the new addition costing about $10 million, the council asked if the board of education could look into a possible alternative.