Fair Haven school board will place $15.6 referendum on ballot Sept. 24

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FAIR HAVEN – The Fair Haven Public Schools Board of Education has set the bill at $15.6 million for the total cost of a referendum that proposes the expansion of and renovations to the district’s two schools.

“If we are given the keys to this, the (improvements) will be done competently, and done well,” Superintendent of Schools Sean McNeil said during a referendum presentation at the Viola L. Sickles School on May 23.

The referendum will be on the ballot in a special election on Sept. 24.

The two schools in the district are the Viola L. Sickles School, which educates pupils in pre-kindergarten through third grade, and Knollwood Public School, which educates students in fourth grade through eighth grade.

McNeil said the proposed enhancements to the Sickles School total $12.05 million.

The improvements are as follows:

Expand from half-day to full-day kindergarten; create a secure school entrance; increase parking on Willow Street to ensure safety during student drop-off and pick-up; gain six classrooms; and create an additional multi-purpose space.

The superintendent described the current school entrance as unacceptable from a security standpoint. He also reported that Fair Haven is one of three remaining school districts in Monmouth County that does not offer full-day kindergarten.

The proposed enhancements to Knollwood Public School total $3.6 million, McNeil said. The improvements are to add flexible classroom space; update the HVAC system in the gymnasium; and update critical systems including electrical panels and high efficiency boilers.

State aid is anticipated to cover $3.77 million toward the $15.6 million spending plan, McNeil said.

District administrators said the owner of a home assessed at the borough average of $808,044 would pay about $429 more in school taxes each year for 20 years if the referendum is approved.

A subsequent presentation on the details of the referendum will be held at Knollwood Public School on June 13 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.fairhaven.edu.