School-improvement projects win easily in Oaklyn, Rancocas Valley districts

Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post Published 10:01 p.m. ET Sept. 24, 2019 | Updated 8:53 a.m. ET Sept. 25, 2019

MOUNT HOLLY —- Voters in two South Jersey school districts overwhelmingly supported school-improvement plans Tuesday.

Garrison Architects of Bellmawr are the Architects for both Districts.

Oaklyn residents approved a $4.1 million proposal to upgrade the borough's lone elementary school, backing the plan by an unofficial vote of 556-131, the district said.

And residents of the five-town Rancocas Valley Regional High School district backed a $21.7 million plan to bolster security and infrastructure, Unofficial results showed 2,482 votes in support of the plan, and 951 opposed.

Vote

Chris Heilig, the regional district's superintendent, thanked voters "for supporting our district and taking their RV Pride to the polls."

He said the district could now "fulfill our commitment to make a long-term collective investment in our students and their futures."

The district, which plans to upgrade its high school in Mount Holly and an annex in Eastampton, also serves students from Hainesport, Lumberton and Westampton.

While state aid will cover 40 percent of each project's cost, the proposals also will boost local property taxes.

In Oaklyn, property taxes will rise by $80.33 annually for an average home assessed at about $162,500, the Camden County district says.

The annual increase for an average home in the Rancocas Valley district will range from $37 in Mount Holly to $78 in Lumberton, according to the regional district.

Property taxes also will climb by $54 in Eastampton, $56 in Westampton and $75 in Hainesport.

In a post-election statement, the regional district said its project will "support the safety, security, health and wellness of (the district's) students and staff."

Among other changes, workers will consolidate the high school offices that draw the most visitors "into one confined area" behind a security vestibule. A security vestibule will be added to the Eastampton annex, which serves special-education and non-traditional students.

Both buildings will receive new HVAC systems, which would be more energy efficient and will allow all windows to be closed and locked at all times.

Some bathrooms will be made ADA-compliant, according to the district's website.

The Oaklyn district, which covers less than one square mile, will add a main office security vestibule to its elementary school.

Oaklyn Public School also will gain a new HVAC system and will replace its roof, drains and exterior windows, the district's website says.


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