EDISON – Next week, Edison voters will decide whether to approve an ambitious school renovation and construction plan that would cost $166.8 million.
The Jan. 26 bond referendum will include two separate questions. The first proposal would authorize $137,068,139 for additions and improvements at 13 of the township’s 17 public schools. A second question would authorize $29,775,888 for construction of a new 600-student elementary school on the district-owned Thomas Jefferson Middle School site.
If township voters approve both referendum questions, the state Department of Education would provide $39,475,174 toward the projects. District officials estimate that annual property taxes would rise $108.93 for the average Edison homeowner if both questions pass.
The proposed additions will provide needed classroom space and core facilities to meet strong and continuing growth in enrollment, district officials said. The program would add 172 new classrooms district-wide at all grade levels.
At the elementary schools multi-purpose rooms would be improved as cafeterias, self-contained kitchens would be expanded and separate three-bay gymnasiums would be added to schools currently lacking them. Cafeterias and gymnasiums would also be expanded at the Adams and Jefferson Middle Schools
According to Acting Superintendent John DiMuzio, enrollments have been growing in excess of 200 students per year for the last 10 years. “We had an enrollment projection update last year after our annual count in October and in support of our Long Range Facilities Plan. Using mandated state methods, that study projected year 2013 enrollments at 14,590 students.
“This year’s October count surged ahead of the projection and is already at 14,400. Our approved enrollment projection may be conservative, but we are only allowed to build for the projected enrollment of 14,590 students. This referendum program, including the new elementary school, meets that need.”
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