HomeCherry Hill NewsDistrict reduces submitted bond referendum application

District reduces submitted bond referendum application

Board is one step closer to filling open seat for ninth member

Prior to the Jan. 25 Cherry Hill board of education meeting, members conducted live interviews for the four top candidates to fill the open seat of a ninth board member, including Matthew Brinn, Joel Mayer, Jessica Mazur, and Gina Winters.

Following the interviews, the board launched into a presentation to review the community Thought Exchange on Middle School Redistricting, followed by a review and approval of the bond-referendum application that will be sent to the state and awaits approval in spring.

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Members also updated COVID guidance with the Road Forward plan.


The Thought Exchange had 748 participants and 933 thoughts or comments. The majority of the respondents were parents whose children are in elementary school. The top thoughts involved several themes, and many respondents agreed with not converting Rosa International Middle School to a sixth grade center where students from all elementary schools would go for one year before attending either Beck or Carusi middle schools. 

During board comments at the meeting, members asked whether it was possible to look at middle-school redistricting in tandem with elementary redistricting so neighborhoods  are not inadvertently split in the process. 

On Thursday, Feb. 3, there will be another virtual town hall meeting on Middle School Redistricting for special ed parents. Residents can share their thoughts on the redistricting process at msfeedback@chclc.org.

Bond referendum 

The board reviewed and adjusted the plan to cut costs where necessary. At its Jan. 25 meeting, the district presented the final bond referendum application and the tax impact to residents that will be sent to the state. 

Since the earlier meeting, the submitted bond referendum application’s amount was reduced by $8 million from proposed to revised. The tax impact has been reduced from $426.09 per year (for the average assessed home of $225,473 with $3 million dollars capital contribution) to $386.94 a year (with cost reductions and $4 million capital contributions).

Cuts came from improvements that were already in progress, removing all LED monuments and eliminating items that could be paid for through capital reserves or by the operating budget, or with the use of capital funds to pay for moving forward. 

“The actual question, ‘How will this be presented to the community and what ultimately and will finally be included?’ will be determined later in the spring,” Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche explained. 

“Everything that is in here tonight is everything that could potentially be done in a referendum.”

Only after the state gives its approval will the board begin making decisions on which projects will actually go to a vote.

“This is not the end of the discussion for the board or for the community on what that means,” Meloche added.

Road forward

The Road Forward committee shared updated COVID guidance from the state and how the schools will incorporate them. 

If students test positive or have COVID systems but have not been tested, they should stay home for five full days after the positive test or after the onset of symptoms. After five days, they can go out, but will need to wear masks around others at home and in public for days six to 10 after testing positive or having symptoms. 

Schools will provide a separate space for students to eat with their masks off while still maintaining social distance, and extracurricular participation will be limited to those where masks can be worn consistently and correctly. Parents need to agree to the requirement in writing before the students return.

While the state now recommends excluding close contacts without boosters and without COVID symptoms from school, Assistant Superintendent LaCoyya Weathington explained that the the requirement will not be implemented because the district would not be able to keep track of students and staff with boosters and would not have the staffing capacity in any given building.

The county currently has very high COVID transmission, so the district will continue to limit spectators for athletic events and other student performances to two per student. 

The district has opted to participate in the Test-to-Stay program, open to students whose parents consent and to athletes and students in extracurricular activities that mandate testing. The frequency of testing is based on the local COVID transmission rates. 

There will be a vaccination clinic on Feb. 9 for students 12 and older from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Rosa International Middle School, and on Feb. 10 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Malberg Administration Building.

The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. and will be available through Zoom.


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