Referendum To Repair Schools On Ballot

Howell High School (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

  HOWELL – Howell High School, as well as the entire Freehold Regional High School District, would receive several infrastructure repairs if a $14.46 million referendum is approved in the 2021 general election.

  The Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) consists of the following municipalities: Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.

  According to FRHSD, all the schools are in urgent need of structural repairs, such as parking lots, paving and roofing.

  Due to the S-2 funding formula, the FRHSD began receiving less federal aid than in previous years, losing $30 million in the span of seven years in state aid under this bill.

  If voters approve the referendum, the State of New Jersey will pick up 40% of the bond’s cost, meaning the work will cost the Freehold Regional $8.68 million instead of the full $14.46 million.

  If the referendum is approved, the impact on the FRHSD portion of a resident’s property tax bill is an estimated increase of less than half of 1%.

A map of Howell High School displaying the “red zones” where the school urgently needs to pave and repair the parking lots. (Photo courtesy Freehold Regional High School District)

  According to the bond proposal, the requested expenditure of $14.46 million for the proposed upgrades is appropriated as follows: $4.352 million at Colts Neck High School; $588,000 at Freehold High School, Freehold Borough; $3.296 million at Freehold Township High School; $2.055 million at Howell High School; $1.631 million at Manalapan High School; and $2.538 million at Marlboro High School.

  The district had previously attempted to pass two referendums which included repairs on turf fields and infrastructure repairs, but each failed to be approved.  

  At the October 12 Howell Township council meeting, Howell High School Principal Jeremy Braverman was urging residents to vote for the referendum’s approval.

  “The referendum is only going to include infrastructure… all six schools will receive improvements. What we did was we had an architect come out and they labeled the roofs and parking lots as ‘green,’ ‘red’ and ‘yellow.’ If we repaired all of it, it would cost more than $14 million, so we’re only taking a look at the ‘red’ (zones),” Braverman said. “In Howell High School, 17% of the roof is in red and 50% of the parking lot is in red… these areas will get fixed regardless of the referendum passes or fails – we cannot go any longer. This summer we will start those projects around the district regardless.”

Courtesy Freehold Regional High School District

  Braverman continued explaining how this would save the district tons of money if the referendum is approved.

  “If the referendum is passed by tax payers, the beauty is that the state will pick up 40% of that referendum. So, if it passes it will no longer cost our local budgeting $14 million, it’s 40% less now so it’s a huge discount that we would get. If the referendum does not pass, it will cost the district $14 million to do these projects,” Braverman said.

  “Really the most important piece of this is that when you have an opportunity, if we were living in our own homes which we do, and we knew that the state would pick up 40% of the work, it’s certainly something that’s eye-opening that we hope the town of Howell as well as the other eight municipalities take advantage of,” Braverman concluded.

  To learn more about the FRHSD referendum, visit the website at for more details on the projects.