Preliminary results: Voters reject all three Cherry Hill Public Schools bond referendum questions

Cherry Hill residents were asked to vote on a three-question bond referendum for various improvements in Cherry Hill Public Schools.

After months of discussion and debate on the Cherry Hill Public Schools bond referendum, voters opted to reject all three questions when they went to the polls on Tuesday, according to preliminary results from Cherry Hill Public Schools. The three-question referendum asked voters if they wished to allow the district to issue bonds for dozens of proposed upgrades across the district.

For question one, 5,940 voters chose to vote “no,” while 4,785 voters opted to vote “yes.” Question one, if approved, would have permitted the issuance of $49,734,143 in bonds to pay for projects including security upgrades and improvements and infrastructure improvements that include building envelope and masonry improvements, roof and HVAC replacements to all-purpose rooms, the addition of security vestibule entrances at five schools, the conversion of an all-purpose room to a cafeteria at Johnson Elementary School and the construction of a new multi-purpose room at Johnson. Question one would have resulted in $71 in annual taxes for the average assessed home of $223,500, a decrease of about $4 from the average assessed home’s current school debt taxes of $75.

Because question one failed to pass, questions two and three could not pass. In any either case, the majority of voters also opted to vote no on the final two questions. For question two, 6,419 voters rejected the question, while 4,331 voters chose “yes.” Question two would have permitted the issuance of $113,402,251 in bonds to pay for ceiling and lighting replacements, electrical and water upgrades, toilet room upgrades, new small group instruction rooms, HVAC upgrades, conversion of the cafeteria to a music room and the construction of a new cafetorium at Rosa International Middle School, a school-wide renovation, roof replacement and new fire alarm system at Carusi Middle School and construction of new multi-purpose rooms at five elementary schools. If approved, question two would have resulted in $237 in annual taxes for the average assessed home, an increase of about $162 from current tax levels.

For question three, 6,520 voters chose “no,” while 4,186 voters chose, “yes.” Question three would have allowed the district to issue $47,636,213 in bonds to pay for renovated science labs and gymnasium at Carusi, renovated locker rooms at Beck and Carusi middle schools and Cherry Hill East and West high schools, auditorium upgrades at Cherry Hill East, renovated science labs at Cherry Hill West, athletic facility improvements at both high schools and various site improvements throughout the district such as paving, lighting, drainage, sidewalk and accessibility improvements. If all three questions were approved, the average assessed home would pay $307 annually in school debt service tax, an increase of $232 per year from current levels.

The preliminary results do not include provisional ballots or late mail-in ballots. They are unofficial until certified by the Camden County Board of Elections.

The district website states the Cherry Hill Board of Education will discuss a future date for another bond referendum at its next meeting on Dec. 18. Check back with www.cherryhillsun.com for more on Tuesday’s bond referendum.