RAHWAY—The school board wants to borrow $34 million to fund renovations and installation of solar panels at the high school and the middle school, plus build a two-story, 12-classroom addition at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School.
If a referendum is approved by city voters on Sept. 29, the bonds would cost the average city homeowner $88 a year for 20 years.
About $15.6 million is allocated for renovations at the High School, including $4.7 million worth of additions to the school’s performing arts facilities and a $2 million overhaul of the auditorium to create an air-conditioned venue.
Approximately $8.7 million would go for improvements at the Middle School, including $4.4 million for a new boiler to replace the 45-year-old one currently in service.
An additional $8.4 million would be spent on the Cleveland addition, with the balance being used to pay for fire alarm replacements at the district’s three other elementary schools.
School officials are banking on state grants and rebates, as well as money generated by the solar panel system to eventually cover about $15 million of the $34 million cost
Assistant superintendent Ed Yergalonis said that the school district is pushing for the referendum now, rather than waiting for economic conditions to improve, because interest rates for bonds are low.
“We want our kids to be competitive,” Yergalonis said. “We’re trying to prepare our youngsters to compete in a global economy. We’ve got to provide them the facilities to do that.”
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