Maple Shade residents approve $49.7 million referendum

Burlington County Times December 12, 2018 by Lisa Ryan

Maple Shade residents narrowly voted Tuesday to approve a $49.7 million, two-question school construction referendum, according to preliminary results. The accepted proposal will fund improvements to facilities and to building safety.

MAPLE SHADE — Residents narrowly voted Tuesday to approve a $49.7 million, two-question school construction referendum, according to preliminary results. The accepted proposal will fund improvements to facilities and to building safety.

In the special election, residents voted 708-649 to approve question one, which covers about $43 million worth of work at the high school and the three elementary schools.

They voted 683-672 to borrow an additional $6.7 million for capital improvements, including an addition to the district’s central office building.

There were 185 mail-in ballots counted, but the results still are unofficial.

The state will contribute funding to cover a portion of all the proposed work as part of its school construction program. However, the referendum still is expected to add to the district’s debt and require local taxpayers to pay more.

Taxpayers will be responsible for $27.9 million of the cost of question one and $4.3 million of question two. The state will cover $15.1 million of the cost of question one and $2.4 million of question two, according to documents provided on the district’s website.

Under the approved plan, the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $158,914 would pay an additional $179.45 annually in school taxes, district officials said.

Funding from question one would allow the district to build nine classrooms at the Maude Wilkins Elementary School and reconfigure that school and the Howard R. Yocum Elementary School, allowing for more preschool students. Design is by Garrison Architects of Bellmawr.

The district also would improve security with such projects as replacing doors and installing vestibules at Wilkins and the Ralph J. Steinhauer Elementary School.

Other proposals under question one included:

  • Building an auxiliary gym at the high school;
  • Updating the high school media center, weight room and some classrooms;
  • Constructing handicapped ramps compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act;
  • Upgrading parking lots, water fountains and fire alarms;
  • Providing districtwide air conditioning with heating and ventilation work.

Proposals under question two include:

  • Building an addition at the district’s central office;
  • Creating an overflow parking lot at the Wilkins school;
  • Getting a new canopy cover for Steinhauer’s drop-off loop;
  • Repaving;
  • Performing heating and ventilation work districtwide.

 

 

 

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