The spotlight at a recent Closter School Board meeting focused on a proposed $6.5 million bond referendum designed to initiate major upgrades in school facilities. In the face of looming costs from aging infrastructure, the board emphasized the referendum’s crucial role in preserving the quality of education within the district.
The meeting, led by Superintendent Mr. McHale, involved a comprehensive presentation on the dire state of the district’s facilities and the potential benefits of the bond. Mr. McHale applauded the diligent work of teachers, administrators, staff, and parents throughout the school year and announced various academic support programs for students over the summer. The highlight of his report was the proposed bond referendum, which he lauded as an efficient solution to the district’s infrastructure woes.
Mr. McHale and the board highlighted the urgency of facility upgrades, pointing out the risks associated with the aging roofing, old windows, and antiquated boilers. Without the bond referendum, emergency repairs and upgrades estimated at a full cost of $6.5 million would be borne solely by taxpayers. However, passage of the referendum would secure $2.2 million in Debt Service Aid from the State of New Jersey, reducing the burden on taxpayers.
Furthermore, the board detailed the potential benefits of these upgrades, particularly for the Hillside and Tenakill schools. Not only would these renovations prevent costly repair and potential disruption to school operations, but they would also free up budgetary resources, further enhancing academic excellence. Specific images of the areas requiring upgrades were shared to underline the necessity of the proposed projects.
To ensure transparency and community involvement, the board detailed the timeline for the referendum process. The bond issuance, if approved, would fund the projects by the summer of 2024. The board outlined important dates, such as the final day to register to vote (September 4th), the last day to vote by mail (September 19th), and the day of the bond referendum vote itself (September 26th).
Public response to the proposal has been positive. Dolores, a local resident, voiced her support for the board’s plan, describing the approach as “simple” and “amazing”. The board further invited community members to access detailed information about the proposed bond on the school’s website and announced plans for informational sessions in the fall to address queries and concerns.
The meeting continued with various committee reports and discussions on operational issues, such as increasing the substitute daily rate and updating the Safe Return Plan in response to pandemic-era mandates from the New Jersey Department of Education. The board concluded the meeting by thanking staff members and administrators for their service, highlighting the collective willingness to continually improve the district’s facilities, operations, and overall learning environment.
A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the Superintendent’s name.