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School District Discusses March 11 Primary School Referendum

The board of education held a public hearing on the $2.5 million bond referendum set for March 11.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
With three weeks to go before voters head to the polls to decide whether to help fund renovations for the Ocean City Primary School, school officials made a presentation to the public Wednesday night at the high school.

The district is requesting $2,497,421.47 from the public to help fund a $6,653,368 project for various improvements.

The district already received a grant from the state for $2,399,279 for priority needs.

It is using $1,756,667.53 from its capital reserve fund for non-priority needs, such as a security-type door hardware in which the teachers could lock the doors from the inside in case of emergency.

The district estimates the tax increase for the average Ocean City homeowner will be $15.39 a year for the next 10 years.

The bond referendum is March 11, with polls open between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For a list of polling locations, click here.

The state grant represents 40 percent of the project.

“Halfway through our evaluations, the Christie Administration announced grant funding would be available,” said Scott England, an architect with the Mount Holly firm Regan, Young, England, Butera. “We had a deadline we had to meet, we submitted our highest priority needs and we were able to get a grant covering 40 percent of all eligible costs. We’re very lucky because not every district got that.”

The project includes replacing the school’s 25-year-old roof; replacing windows that have been a part of the school since it opened in 1965; upgrading the heating and ventilation system; and installing an air conditioner.

Currently, only part of the school has an air conditioner. Certain parts of the building would be air conditioned during the summer, where needed.

Replacing the hot water heater, boilers, lighting in classrooms and multi-purpose rooms, the ceiling system, exterior doors and frames, the fire alarm system and classroom doors are also part of the proposal.

The bond before the voters has an interest rate of 2.5 percent, which Business Administrator Pete Yacovelli described as “almost free money.”

“The money won’t be there forever,” Yacovelli said.

If approved, the project would take place over the summer of 2015, with some preliminary work occurring after school hours in May and June.

Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Taylor said the beginning of the 2015-16 school year may be delayed a few days for the completion of the project.

Should voters reject the request, the district would then have 18 months to secure local funding.

The district currently has $3.9 million in its capital reserve. It is using $2.9 million of that funding to replace heating and ventilation at the high school.

The funding for that project added to the funding for the Primary School project would exceed what the district has in its reserve, but Yacovelli assured residents that money would be replenished through a resolution before June calling for the district to replace the money using its surplus.

Wednesday's presentation included a question and answer period, and lasted just under half an hour. The district has already made presentations to the Exchange Club and the Republican Club, and is set to meet with the PTA.

Seth Grossman February 21, 2014 at 09:42 PM
Thanks to project labor agreements that effectively force public schools to hire only expensive union contractors for every job, we now have to borrow money over 20 years with interest and big legal and Wall Street fees. Before, these repair and maintenance items were paid for out of regular budget. Visit www.libertyandprosperity.org for details.

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