COLUMN: ‘Vision for the future’

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Haddonfield residents will decide the future of their school district and community by voting on the district’s Bancroft bond referendum.

This historic referendum seeks to protect and ensure the district’s high level of educational excellence for years to come, and to create opportunities to address future educational, athletic, recreational, historical preservation and open space needs for the entire town.

We are truly at a crossroads as we enter our town’s 300th anniversary year, reflecting upon the sacrifices of those in the past who supported our community to become what it is today.

As you know, we have an outstanding community with one of the best school districts in the state and nation.

Even Gov. Christie proclaimed, “Haddonfield gets education right. From the local board of education to the local government, Haddonfield Schools are an extraordinary example of what can happen when family and community work together…”

Yet, although we are the best educationally and in the areas of the performing arts and athletics, our high school has the smallest per-acre facility of all the schools in the Colonial Conference and our students continue to play on substandard athletic fields.

Given the educational challenges to come, our community cannot afford to land-lock our high school or the district as a whole.

The current Bancroft bond referendum proposal includes:

West Side of Hopkins Lane:

• Acquiring the 19.2 acre Bancroft property directly adjacent to our high school;

• Constructing one multi-purpose athletic field and related site parking;

• Preserving historic buildings;

• Reserving the balance of the land for future educational purposes;

• Demolishing non-historic buildings.

East Side of Hopkins Lane:

• Reserving land for future educational purposes, grading and seeding, and active/passive open space;

• Demolishing non-historic buildings;

• Providing the Borough the land necessary to meet legal obligations for 10 affordable housing units.

The school district promised to pursue and has now received a grant commitment from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program and the Camden County Open Space Fund in the aggregate amount of $3.5 million.

• The maximum amount of bonds of the School District to be issued is limited to $12.5 million.

• The annual cost to an average assessed home of $491,359 will be $189.

• The off-street parking will substantially lessen congestion on the streets near the high school as well as around Radnor Field and Centennial Field.

Please vote on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.

For more information about the Bancroft Bond Referendum, visit the district’s website at www.haddonfield.k12.nj.us.

Dr. Richard Perry

Superintendent of Schools