Springfield school construction not likely to go on ballot for months

Published: December 26, 2013
Written by Rose Krebs Staff writer Burlington County Times


SPRINGFIELD — It will likely be months before the school district decides when and what construction to ask voters to approve via a referendum.

Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration announced the approval of $507.7 million in funding to offset the costs of school construction projects in 331 districts statewide.

In Burlington County, 20 districts are set to receive nearly $47.8 million of the funding for projects totaling $103 million. The money is being allocated in the latest round of funding under $3.9 billion authorized by the Legislature in July 2008. The last funding round was in July 2010, when $270 million was allocated for school construction projects.

School boards in districts that still need to get approval for their local funding will have to determine when to go out to referendum. They have up to 18 months to secure the local portion of their project costs, according to information on the state Department of Education website.

Jim Specca, a school board member in Springfield, said the district will likely not plan a special election to ask voters to approve a bond referendum to cover the local portion of construction costs until at least September.

The state has committed to allocate about $2.2 million for the district’s proposed $5.4 million in improvements as submitted by Garrison Architects of Marlton.

Districts that plan to have special referendum elections in March needed to submit documentation to the county clerk by Monday.

The district has long wanted to renovate its kindergarten-through-sixth-grade school off Jacksonville-Jobstown Road, portions of which date back to 1939. Possible improvements include a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system; windows; doors; floor and ceiling tiles; electrical and security upgrades; and upgrades to bathrooms.

Specca said the board briefly discussed the matter at a meeting earlier this month, but still needs to determine what work will be funded given that the state did not approve reimbursement for all the projects the district submitted.

The district has already funded some improvements to fix portions of the roof and put a new floor in the gymnasium.

Voters have twice rejected referendums in the past five years to make improvements to the schools. Originally, the district was considering up to about $9.5 million in upgrades.




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