Board of ed votes to sell $300 million bonds

Tax to decrease $20 per year for average assessed home

(EMILY LIU/The Sun)

At the township’s board of education meeting earlier this month, its members shared reflections from the New Jersey School Board Association conference that took place a few weeks before. 

Member Jennifer Fleisher noted that one of the workshops she attended was about reducing food waste by having a share table, where unopened, packaged items not eaten by students at lunch are left on a table for others. 

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“A lot of the time, we’re asking them to take something, and they may not really want it,” she said. 

While no decision was made, the board continued its discussion on sustainability, citing it as among possible items the strategic planning board may address in the future. 

The board approved selling $300 million in bonds of the $363 million from the referendum’s passage on Dec. 8, a suggestion discussed at a prior business and finance committee meeting. The remaining $63 million will be sold in a few years.

Board member Joel Mayer explained that because of favorable markets right now, if the district sells $300 million, it could earn interest on reinvestment that might go back to  taxpayers. 

“Whatever that bond money is able to be earned in interest, that can’t be used for additional projects,” he said. “It’s required that we return that to the taxpayers in interest.” 

Rather than $399 per year for the average assessed home, the bond counsel estimates the number could be $379. 

Fleisher said not all of the bonds are being sold at once because the chief architect, Bob Garrison, had explained that the IRS required 85 percent of the funds sold to be used in five years, and he wasn’t able to guarantee that given issues with the supply chain and possible contractor issues. 

“By changing it to $300 million, and within the next five years ($63 million), that would be fine,” Fleisher said. “Seventy million will be spent over the first year alone, so we felt comfortable as a committee having that split.”

Fleisher also shared updates to the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) policy   that included creation of an intervention plan for students with more than three HIB incidents in one year. It would require the student and parent to complete a classroom training program. 

A school principal would have the option of a preliminary determination on whether an incident indicates HIB, to be approved by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche. The decision can be appealed, according to board of education regulations. 

 

The next board meeting is Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

 

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