Edgewater Park voters approve $16.1M bond referendum for school repairs

Burlington County Times onJanuary 26, 2016
By Sean David Levinsky, Staff Writer

The EDGEWATER PARK — Township voters gave the local school district their approval Tuesday to move forward with $16.1 million worth of planned improvements to three school buildings.

A referendum on the district's plan was passed by an unofficial vote of 262 to 205.

"We're excited," Superintendent Roy Rakszawski said Tuesday night after the votes were counted.

Edgewater Park Schools
Edgewater Park Superintendent of Schools Roy Rakszawski shows the proposed changes to schools in the district should the $16.1 million referendum pass on Jan. 26, 2016.

The planned improvements are at the Mildred Magowan and Jacques elementary schools on Cherrix Avenue, and the Samuel Ridgway Middle School on Delanco Road.

They include new roofs, enhanced security, mechanical and electrical system upgrades, new interior doors and frames, resurfacing a playground site, and renovations to make the buildings more accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also, the nurse's suite at the Magowan Elementary School will be renovated, as well the main office, nurse's suite and library at the Ridgeway Middle School.

All three schools buildings are between 45 and 60 years old, according to schools officials.0127 In total, about $5.73 million in work is planned at Ridgway, $5.53 million at Magowan and $4.89 million at the Jacques.

The state plans to reimburse the township for about $8 million of the projects' expense with funds dedicated to school construction projects. Local property taxpayers will cover the remaining $8.1 million in totals costs.

The local school tax rate will rise about 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value as a result of the approval. For the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $192,748, it translates into a $193 increase.

School officials said they were thankful voters agreed to the increase, noting that the proposed projects involve needed repairs and improvements, such as replacing the schools' original boilers and modernizing the buildings to enhance safety and security.

"I think people in the community value education in general and they realize these are important projects that have to be done," Rakszawski said. "And this was an opportunity for the state to pay for half of it."

The district's next step is to consult with its financial advisor about bonding with the goal of soliciting construction bids by March and for some work to be started this summer.

"We'll do as much as we can," District Business Administrator Nancy Lane said

 

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