Residents vote yes on township bond referendums

Approval means school upgrades, including an HVAC system

Residents voted nearly 2 to 1 on Election Day to approve bond referendums that will finance improvements at school district buildings from Millbridge Elementary to Delran High.

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“The board of education has worked for years to examine the needs of our individual facilities, also with the understanding to reduce its financial burden on taxpayers,” said School  Superintendent Brian Brotschul.

“…This is a historic opportunity for the community, and they overwhelmingly supported our safety and security initiatives. Their support will allow the district to enhance academic programming and operations at our schools.”

The two bond referendums in question total nearly $12.1 million in improvements that will be partially funded by Delran taxpayers. Just over $4.5 million is expected to be covered by state funding, with a final cost to residents of about $7.6 million.

As for what improvements will be made, of the nearly $9.3 million in bonds on the election ballot’s question one, almost $6.5 million will fund more improvements to Millbridge, including a roof replacement and an upgrade to the HVAC system. Other school improvements approved in question 1 will pay for updates and upgrades of existing security, technology and sound systems in the district.

Funding from question two will also pay for work on bathrooms at Millbridge, on the parking lot of the middle school and in the Culinary Arts classroom at the high school, among other projects.

“I view their support of the referendum to be a mandate for us,” Brotschul said of the election result. “… It has been a while since we’ve asked the community to support something like this. The board took a deliberate process over multiple years to examine the needs of the district and also balance those needs … with the burden on the taxpayers.”

The board has in the last few years attempted district improvements through its general operating fund. Those projects have amounted to nearly $10 million, but with another $12  million in upgrades necessary, help must come from taxpayers. Fortunately, that burden has been mitigated by the general fund contribution and expected state funding.

“I feel like the support of the board today was and is the reason for such a large outgrowth of support at the polls,” Brotschul said.

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