FRHSD referendum will focus on roofing, paving projects at six schools
Voters in the eight municipalities that make up the Freehold Regional High School District are being asked to approve a $14.46 million referendum in the 2021 general election. The referendum will cover paving and roofing projects on the six high schools in the district.
The municipalities in the FRHSD are Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan, and Marlboro. The total number of votes from all eight cities together determines the outcome of the question.
The 2021 general election will be held by postal and personal ballot. The early personal vote starts on October 23 and lasts for nine days. Election day is November 2.
According to information posted online by the FRHSD, “The district has critical, urgent infrastructure needs, including roofing and paving projects, that need to be addressed. There are two ways a school district can pay for these projects: through a bond referendum or through the annual operating budget.
“In the Freehold Regional situation, the rigors of the loss of approximately $30 million in state aid under Senate Act 2 make it impossible to include this work in our annual operating budget without requiring significant budget cuts elsewhere. As a result, the Freehold Regional High School District is seeking voter approval… on a referendum to issue bonds to complete this work.”
According to district officials, if voters approve the referendum, the state will bear 40% of the cost of the bonds, meaning the work will cost the school district $8.68 million instead of the full $14.46 million. . If the referendum is approved, the impact on the FRHSD portion of a resident’s property taxes is an estimated increase of less than half of 1%.
This year’s referendum marks the third time in four years that residents of the district’s broadcasting communities have been asked to approve a public question. Referenda in October 2018 and November 2019 were defeated by voters.
The requested expenditures of $14.46 million for the proposed roof and paving improvements are allocated as follows: $4.352 million for Colts Neck High School; $588,000 at Freehold High School, Freehold Borough; $3,296 million at Freehold Township High School; $2,055 million at Howell High School; $1,631 million at Manalapan High School; and $2,538 million at Marlboro High School.
In a statement, district officials said: “As many (people) know, FRHSD has tried to pass two referendums before. We have listened to the concerns of our residents about the costs and projects associated with those previous proposals and as such have drastically reduced the overall scope for this proposal.
Gone are the improved classrooms and lawns, among other items that were part of the previous $39.79 million and $42.01 million proposals. The $14.46 million budget of our proposed referendum includes only critical, urgent infrastructure needs. relating to roofing and paving.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Administration Sean Boyce said earlier this year that if the proposed referendum doesn’t pass, it won’t mean district administrators will waive repairs needed to school roofs and parking lots.
Boyce previously said the funds needed to make the repairs would have to come from the district’s operating budget, which funds the educational services and programs provided to students.