Board discusses the path to referendum

The following is a board communication from the Moorestown Township Board of Education:

On May 21, the Moorestown Public Schools Board of Education approved a resolution that will ask voters to consider a capital referendum proposal to address a critical need for space, a demand for increased safety and security measures and a focus on sustainability of our facilities to maintain the high quality standards Moorestown embodies.

During the general election on Nov. 5, voters will be asked to consider a single question that addresses these most urgent needs of our district.

Over the past few months as the referendum has been in the development phases, we have identified a pressing need to expand capacity particularly at our elementary schools. While we are currently enacting plans to address immediate needs as best as possible, those remedies are at best stopgap measures that are largely unsustainable and have trade-offs in the long-term. Through construction, reconfiguring grade levels and maximizing schedules at our schools, we know we will be able to address these current space needs and foreseeable future needs. This plan will give the district many opportunities to address concerns and priorities of our community. These include returning elementary students to their home schools, maintaining or lowering class size, developing a full-day kindergarten program and opening new revenue-generation options. Additionally, we need to plan for potential growth as new communities are built in Moorestown.

The key to our success is being prepared and staying ahead of the space issue. We know from experience that failing to do so often has negative outcomes including higher costs, larger class sizes, programs being cut or delivered substantially differently and even operating under temporary and costly modular facilities/trailers.

Schools must stay ahead of the safety and security challenges in our modern world. This referendum will include upgrades and improvements to our security systems. The safety of all of our children, staff and community in the Moorestown Township Public Schools is our number one priority.

While a significant portion of the construction will be to create space and improve security, we also want to be good stewards of tax dollars, maintain property values and provide a structure all Moorestown Township residents can be proud of. To accomplish this we need to maintain and improve our physical systems with an emphasis on long-term sustainability and energy efficiency.

The Board of Education and district administration will be posting presentations, supporting materials and Q/A documents on a dedicated website (www.mtps.com/referendum) and the MTPS Facebook page over the next few months.

Numerous public forums will be advertised for you to come and learn more and ask questions about this exciting opportunity for our students. If you have questions that are not answered in the resources provided, please email us at mtpsreferendum@mtps.com. The board and administration are interested in engaging with groups of ten or more community members. Please email us at the address above to request attendance at a meeting. We want the community to be as informed as possible as we ask for your support on Nov. 5.