Voters Approve School Construction Projects

TRENTON—Voters in Woodbridge and South River approved school construction projects yesterday.

South River’s voters approved more than $14 million in renovations to two schools, which includes electrical, security, windows, doors, gymnasium roof, library, science labs, air conditioning system and other upgrades. A little more than half of the total – $7,186,565 – is eligible for state reimbursement. Residents will pay the rest of the cost. The bond referendum passed 577-330.


Woodbridge voters approved a $32 million bond referendum that will pay for roof replacement and solar panel installation at the township’s schools. The state will contribute approximately $9 million for the $41.5 million project. The referendum was approved 2,828-1,103.

Six other school districts – Buena Regional and Somers Point in Atlantic County, Fort Lee in Bergen County, and Kingsway Regional, National Park and Woodbury Heights in Gloucester County – also had school construction elections yesterday. Fort Lee and Kingsway Regional voters rejected the referendums, but the other four passed.

According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, the proportion of construction proposals approved by voters in 2010 comes to 50 percent. Overall, 17 of 34 bond referendums were approved in the five school-construction election dates this year. The 50-percent success rate for 2010 – which is the lowest on record since NJSBA began tracking school-construction proposals in 1998 – reflects voters’ reluctance to take on additional debt during a struggling economy. The highest success rate was in 2003, when voters approved nearly 79 percent of school construction proposals.

For 2010, a total of $832.11 million in school construction was proposed to voters. Only 26.3 percent of that amount, $218.66 million, was approved. That figure is also the lowest on record. The highest level of school-construction spending took place in 2003, when voters authorized $1.4 billion in school construction projects – 84 percent of the proposed dollar amount for that year.

School boards may hold special elections on five specific dates a year. The next date on which a school board may schedule a bond referendum question is Jan. 25.

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