Spotswood district voters approve $9.3M school bond

Staff Writer

Voters have chosen to fund various improvements throughout the Spotswood School District’s four schools.

“I would like to thank the community for supporting the referendum. These upgrades will bring much-needed improvements to the district,” said Superintendent of Schools Scott Rocco, who in the months leading up to the vote campaigned in its favor.

On Nov. 3, voters in Spotswood, Helmetta and Milltown voted in favor of the $9.3 million bond referendum, which would increase their monthly school taxes.

According to unofficial results released by the Middlesex County Board of Elections, 932 voted in favor of, and 670 voted against, the referendum. 1,602 voters participated in the referendum.

School taxes would fund $6.1 million of the projects. The district expects the state to kick in $3.1 million; $1.1 million in the form of Regular Operating District (ROD) grants; and roughly $2 million in debt service aid. State aid will cover 33 percent of the total cost.

School taxes in Spotswood will increase by $9.80 per month for a home assessed at the borough average of $255,026.

In Helmetta, the increase in school taxes will be $8.29 a month for a home assessed at the borough average of $205,545.

Taxpayers in Milltown, which sends about 280 students to the high school, will see an increase of 54 cents a month in school taxes for a home assessed at the borough average of $163,634.

According to Rocco, if the referendum had not passed the district would not receive the grants and debt service aid.

He said the first thing the district will seek to address is upgrades to the communication system.

“The number one thing right now is the communication system in our four buildings which are necessary for safety and security. When the power goes out, like it has over the summer, the phones are always the last thing to come back online,” said Rocco. According to Rocco, the referendum will allow the school district to immediately address critical security, safety, facility and classroom heating/ventilation needs at the four schools.

At Spotswood High School, the funding will provide security cameras with video backup; telecommunication system upgrades; HVAC upgrades, as well as energyefficient roof and window replacement; locker room renovations; and bleacher and track replacements.

Improvements at Memorial Middle School include upgrades to the telecommunication system as well as roof replacement.

At E.R. Appleby and G. Austin Schoenly elementary schools, improvements include upgrades to security cameras, fire alarms, ventilation systems telecommunications, and playground surface improvements.

The majority of improvements are expected to take place next summer.

According to the New Jersey Department of Education, during the 2014-2015 school year the district’s total enrollment was 1,766 students.

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