HomeShamong NewsMore Details: Shamong Bond Referendum Defeated

More Details: Shamong Bond Referendum Defeated

The most expensive part of the referendum were the HVAC upgrades, which accounted for $1.9 million of the $4.9 million total.

The $4.9 million bond referendum proposed by Shamong Township Schools was defeated Tuesday by an unofficial margin of 584–438.

The school district is awaiting the official tally from the county.

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The referendum, which would not have raised taxes, was aimed at completing the following projects for the district: HVAC upgrades and climate control with automatic temperature control upgrades, parking lot reconstruction, generator replacement and classroom door access controls.

According to a presentation created by the school district’s administrators, the school district will pay off $691,726 worth of debt in 2018, which is 83 percent of its current debt, or $830,426.

Had the referendum passed, it would have added $317,891 back to the $691,7260 decrease in debt. This still would have resulted in a net decrease in debt of $373,835, which would bring the average Shamong taxpayer’s annual school district debt service bill from $385.62 to $212.11, a 45 percent decrease.

Because the referendum failed and the new debt wasn’t added back on, the average Shamong taxpayer will go from paying $385.62 to $64.44 a year toward the school district’s debt service, according to the same presentation.

The most expensive part of the referendum were the HVAC upgrades, which accounted for $1.9 million of the $4.9 million total.
“Projects that were included in the referendum will now need to be prioritized based on the safety and security needs of the district,” Superintendent Christine Vespe said. “The 2018–19 budget is currently being developed and will be evaluated and adjusted to allow for critical projects to be completed.”

Shamong Deputy Mayor Mike DiCroce, who was a leader of the anti-bond movement, thanked those who voted in the election.

“The days of looking to the taxpayer first are over,” DiCroce said. “The money spigot is off.”

“I am calling for the BOE to work with the taxpayers and find 3 percent waste in the current budget, without impacting the children’s educational opportunities, and utilize this annual savings of $300,000 for projects the BOE identified as needing attention,” he added. “With a current budget of more than $10 million for our two schools, a shrinking student population and a top heavy administration with very generous benefits and salaries, do you think it is now time to take a ‘second look’ at how things are being run and where all this money is being spent?”

A similar bond referendum for the school district failed in March by five votes, 314–309.

Interestingly, nearby Medford Lakes residents overwhelmingly passed a $2.9 million bond referendum by a margin of 615–115 to complete similar maintenance projects for Medford Lakes School District on the same day, which will raise taxes on its residents, according to a press release.

The tax impact is estimated at $92.75 per year for the 20-year bond, for a home assessed at the borough average of $286,000.

The Medford Lakes referendum included lavatory upgrades for students and faculty, sidewalk/landing repairs, improved ADA accessibility, intruder prevention locksets for all classroom doors for both of its Nokomis and Neeta Schools. Additionally, the bond included a new roof


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