Haddonfield Superintendent Chuck Klaus gave updates on where the district stands with its bond referendum at a board of education meeting on March 23.
Since the board initially began discussions on the referendum last January, there have been a number of conversations on the topic, including visioning sessions with students, staff and residents; community surveys; and targeted sessions on the Hopkins Parcel, athletics and educational spaces.
In the next few months, the scope of the work will be finalized and reviewed by LAN Associates before being submitted for approval to the state Department of Education in July.
“The conversation has to keep going back to what are our highest priorities and not, ‘This looks awesome, we would love to have this,’” Klaus said. “‘Is that one of our highest priorities? Because that’s expensive.’
“We’re having those conversations now, about making sure that the decisions we’re making now as we say, ‘We want to cut this or cut that,’ are staying in line with what we really want to make sure happens.”
Because those conversations are ongoing – and items being considered now may not end up in the final referendum – the specifics will not be shared until they are finalized in June.
Klaus did discuss the general scope of those items, including updating accessibility; full-day kindergarten; maintaining roofs, HVAC and windows; improving fields and athletic spaces; and adding classrooms for related services, teacher work spaces and offices and conference rooms.
The full budget presentation can be viewed on the Haddonfield school district’s YouTube page.
“We don’t want to get into a situation where another board 15 years from now will say, ‘Boy, when Klaus was superintendent, he didn’t take care of the buildings and now we have to fix them,’” Klaus noted. “We’re going to make sure that we maintain the buildings.”
Another issue under consideration is how the purchase of 144 Kings Highway West – site of the Kingsway Learning Center – will fit into the budget proposal. Because the purchasing process took place from November 2022 to February, the bond referendum timeline has shifted from September to March 2024.
Klaus highlighted important dates in the next few months, including a zoning board meeting on Tuesday, April 18 and a planning board meeting on Tuesday, May 2. The 90-day deadline to back out of the purchase is Wednesday, May 10.
In other news;
A number of students were commended for being Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Winners of the National German Exam. Gold Medal Winners included Caroline Bisirri, Evelyn Bisirri, Katherine Crawford, Claudia Fisicaro, Natalie Kist, Ryan Kopp. Other achievement awards were received by Sage Bittner, Isaiah Cook, Miranda Case, Jack Meditz, Avery Connor, Dominic Hahn, Jake Siegel, Allison Goode, Connor Whalen, Loudon Vest and George Bisirri. A full list of the winners can be seen on the March 23 Haddonfield Board of Education agenda.
The next board of education meeting will take place on Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m.