For Immediate Release
PR 062-Board Approves ReferendumJanuary 16, 2015; Revised Feb. 20, 2015School Referendum to Present Community with Three Ballot QuestionsGlassboro residents will cast their votes on three ballot questions on Tuesday, March 10, from 2 – 9 p.m. at the Beach Administration Building, located at 560 Bowe Boulevard. The multi-question approach reflects advisement the Board received from community members and building professionals. The Board of Education approved the questions at its January 7 Public Reorganization Meeting. It had approved the referendum date at the December Public Board Meeting.Superintendent Mark Silverstein said, “This latest referendum prioritizes the projects as taxpayers requested. While all are important projects it gives residents the opportunity to minimize the tax impact as they determine what they can support. We look forward to beginning to solve our long term capital needs and to be able to focus on the instruction taking place in our facilities without worrying about the facilities themselves.”Question 1 focuses on life safety and security, building integrity, critical systems and technology to support safety, security and learning. This would have an estimated tax impact of 20¢ a day or $74 a year on the average-assessed home of $187,567. Question 1 projects total about $13.88 million.Question 1 includes replacing fire alarms and faulty intercom systems to keep students and staff safe and to communicate in an emergency or throughout the regular school day. Security projects would include intrusion detection/deterrent features such as motion sensors and panic switches. Cameras/a video camera system, card access controls on select doors, secure entry vestibules, and doors that lock from inside the classrooms would also be added as security measures.Bathrooms deficiencies and roof and wall leaks currently disrupt the learning environment – - so much so that high school homecoming skits joked about being late due to a bathroom being closed and needing to open an umbrella in classroom. Question 1 would seek to resolve those deficiencies, repair masonry and replace and repair roofs. GIS HVAC controls would also fall under Question 1 due to their current condition, as would the Dorothy L. Bullock School chiller and rooftop heating and ventilation units at Bowe.Question 1 technology projects would include network upgrades to support the life and security features. The schools are in need of fiber optic, server and wireless upgrades required for today’s educational programs, state-mandated-testing and one-on-one devices. In order to keep critical district network and communication systems operational in an extended emergency, an emergency generator would be added in the Administration Building which is currently the Technology-hub. (Additional emergency school generators included in previous referendums have been stripped from this referendum due to prior feedback.)Questions 2 and 3 contain important Energy/Environment and Education projects. Because of the extreme criticality of items in Question 1, the work in Questions 2 or 3 cannot be undertaken unless Question 1 passes in addition to Questions 2 or 3.Through Question 2, the Glassboro School District seeks to address obsolete and non-functioning HVAC systems to reduce service calls, downtime and maintenance needs. The new systems will improve energy efficiency and comfort levels while providing reliability. This includes replacing a chiller at Glassboro High School, boilers at the high school and J. Harvey Rodgers School and HVAC controls in all schools (except for Glassboro Intermediate, for which HVAC controls were placed in Question 1). HVAC equipment such as classroom ventilators at GJS, lighting upgrades in select areas of all schools and window replacement in a section of J. Harvey Rodgers School is also included in this question. Question 2 projects total approximately $9.77 million. The estimated tax impact on the average assessed property for Question 2 would be an increase of 14¢ a day or $51 a year.Question 3 projects will enhance district instructional, support and athletic spaces. This includes adding storage and practice space for the high school music programs, removing the tiered floor in the band room, renovating an outdated classroom into a drama classroom, refurbishing tennis courts, which are in disrepair and used by residents as well as students, restoring high school track and field areas to extend the life of the existing track, replacing high school gym basketball backstops and baseball backstops, and creating a fitness track at Glassboro Intermediate School. Question 3 projects total approximately $3.25 million. The estimated tax impact for Question 3 would be an increase of 6¢ a day or $21 a year.
Glassboro Board of Education President Pete Calvo remarked, “The work needs to be done. The Glassboro community has the opportunity to realize nearly 50% of the qualifying costs through State aid. However, voter approval is a condition of the District receiving those funds to sensibly complete projects and critical repairs. The alternative is that we pay 100% of the costs, further delay project completion, see deteriorating conditions potentially place students and staff at risk, incur higher construction costs, negatively impact property values, and deal with greater tax increases.
“In recent years, school districts have faced mounting obstacles in accruing the funds necessary for critical projects in the wake of 2010 State aid reductions, the resulting loss of staff and caps on school district fund balances and local levies. Glassboro is no different. This referendum presents an opportunity for Glassboro tax payers to address capital needs with some help from the State.”