Voters Approve School Construction in 17 NJ Communities

Fri December 12, 2003 - National Edition

TRENTON, NJ (AP) Voters in 17 of 25 New Jersey communities where school construction questions were on the ballot approved them on Dec. 9, the New Jersey School Boards Association said.

The amount of new construction authorized totaled $441.8 million.

Some $1.42 billion in construction has now been authorized statewide this year, the NJSBA reported. The approval rate for construction referendums this year was 78.5 percent, the highest since NJSBA began tracking bond elections in 1997.

School construction referendums are limited to five dates a year; the second Tuesday in December was the final date for 2003.

"Voters have shown strong support for their local schools despite a slow economy," said Edwina M. Lee, NJSBA executive director.

Three communities in Middlesex County passed referendums. In Monroe, voters approved an $82.9 million referendum that will be used to build a high school in Thompson Park for 1,800 students. South Brunswick voters approved a $46.6 million referendum to fund additions and renovations to five schools in the district.

In Burlington County, voters in Willingboro, Burlington Township and Florence approved referendums, while questions in Delanco and Chesterfield were defeated.

Burlington Township voters approved a $21.9 million project that will include construction of a middle school plus additions to two other schools. Florence’s $36.4 million project includes construction of a high school and repairs to the existing high school and the Roebling Elementary School.

Other school districts where referendums passed Dec. 9 were Somers Point in Atlantic County; Elmwood Park and Pascack Valley Regional in Bergen County; Barrington in Camden County; Cumberland Regional in Cumberland County; Gateway Regional in Gloucester County; Hunterdon Central Regional in Hunterdon County; Rumson-Fair Haven Regional in Monmouth County; Butler and Dover in Morris County, and Roselle Park in Union County.

Referendums failed in Bergenfield and Wyckoff Township in Bergen County; Wildwood City in Cape May County; Long Branch in Monmouth County; Randolph Township in Morris County, and Lavallette in Ocean County.