Cherry Hill BOE receives update on referendum plans, ongoing summer projects

The Cherry Hill Board of Education received an update from the strategic planning committee on the progress of Cherry Hill Public Schools 2020 and the district’s plans for a 2018 bond referendum.

Board member and strategic planning committee chair Carol Matlack said the committee’s Aug. 1 meeting focused mainly on possible referendum items and the district’s communication plans moving forward. The committee is focusing on five general categories when discussing items to include in a 2018 referendum. The categories are upgrade of instructional spaces, security, infrastructure, community spaces and hard surfaces.

A wide range of possible projects falls under each of the five categories. The upgrade of instructional spaces could include items such as small group instruction, bathroom facilities for kindergarten rooms and all-purpose rooms, while community spaces include possible auditorium and athletic field projects. The infrastructure category includes possible HVAC, plumbing and roof projects, while the hard surfaces category includes milling, paving and sidewalk projects.

“As we go through our discussions, we will narrow down what we will include from those categories,” Matlack said.

The school district’s referendum timeline allows for the board to continue considering projects for the referendum through the end of 2017. For the school district to hold a special election on a bond referendum in September 2018, the district must submit its project application to the state Department of Education by next March.

The Cherry Hill Education Foundation is offering its assistance to help the district communicate information about next year’s referendum. During public comment, Cherry Hill Education Foundation president Eleanor Stofman said the foundation is open to partnering with the district in any way possible when it comes to the upcoming referendum. Stofman said the foundation’s events, such as Dancing with the Cherry Hill Stars, are great opportunities for the district to speak with a wide range of community members about its upcoming plans.

“I think we could offer some great ideas and work together in ways to communicate the message,” Stofman said.

Board receives update on ongoing summer projects

Work is continuing on a number of summer projects in Cherry Hill Public Schools, with the first day of school less than one month away.

Board of Education vice president Eric Goodwin updated the board on the status of a few projects during the business and facilities portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

One of the summer projects is connected with the school district’s lead remediation plan. Work is progressing on the installation of water bottle filling stations in the district. As part of the district’s lead remediation plan released last school year, water bottle filling stations are being added in each of the school buildings.

Goodwin said the district has hired a plumber who is in the process of installing the stations. All of the stations are scheduled for installation in time for the start of the 2017–18 school year.

Work has also begun on a new security system for the Barclay Early Childhood Center. The district is adding new upgrades such as an entrance vestibule and door access readers to the building. The upgrades are being installed at Barclay with an eye toward potentially installing them at the district’s other buildings in the near future. Goodwin said all of the Barclay security upgrades should be completed by the end of October.