Colts Neck school board firms up plans for $25M referendum on Sept. 24

COLTS NECK – The Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education will place a $25.5 million referendum before voters during a special election on Sept. 24.

District administrators said the referendum is expected to address three broad categories: Safety and Security; Health and Compliance; and (being) Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly.

On June 5, board member Kevin O’Connor, who chairs the ad hoc referendum committee, gave a presentation regarding the scope of the proposal.

The Safety and Security component of the construction package will propose replacing doors, hardware and locks in schools, and the paving and reconfiguration of the district’s Conover Road parking lot.

O’Connor said the reconfiguration of the parking lot would include a lane at the back of the complex dedicated for school buses, which will improve traffic flow and improve overall safety at the location.

The Health and Compliance component of the referendum will propose new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical systems and mechanical systems.

Being Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly will propose the replacement of roofing and windows, and the installation of LED lighting.

The following breakdown of the work was provided at the presentation:

• $11.36 million at the Conover Road Elementary School, consisting of $7.6 million for Health and Compliance; $1.93 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $1.83 million for Safety and Security;

• $10.72 million at the Cedar Drive Middle School, consisting of $7.93 million for Health and Compliance; $1.52 million for Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly; and $1.27 for Safety and Security;

• $2.45 million for the reconfiguration of the Conover Road parking lot (Safety and Security);

• $960,000 for Safety and Security upgrades at the Conover Road Primary School.

O’Connor said the board would allocate $2.6 million from its capital reserve and impact aid reserve to alleviate the impact of the construction work on property taxes.

He said if the referendum is approved by voters, there would be no tax impact in the first year of the 25-year bond, followed by an estimated $48 tax impact and a $72 tax impact in years two and three.

Following the first three years, the average tax impact based on an average assessed home of $828,700 would be $248. Officials said the bond would have a 3.6% interest rate and that the school district would receive 34% of the eligible project costs in state aid.

O’Connor emphasized that once the proposed projects have been completed, the district’s ongoing maintenance and repair costs would be reduced. He said that would result in savings and provide more funding for educational programs.

Details of the Sept. 24 referendum are expected to be finalized during a board meeting at 7 p.m. June 19 in the district’s administration building, 70 Conover Road, Colts Neck. The meeting is open to the public.