LAKEHURST – The Borough’s Board of Education is adding a referendum question on the November 7 ballot for $3 million to replace the elementary school’s roof and to build a kitchen.
“We had a kitchen a long time ago but all our food for the kids is brought in,” Board member David Burton said. “We are trying to get our own kitchen and make our food here as a savings to the district.”
Business Administrator Joe Firetto said the referendum was discussed at its April Board meeting. “We are working with our bond counsel as well as legal counsel for the bond referendum and there has been discussions of making a presentation to the public with full details along with handing out pamphlets to residents of Lakehurst, families, students and officials.”
“This is obviously something that is necessary and something we want to benefit all the people,” he added.
Superintendent Loren Fuhring said “this would be at a minimal cost to the district overall. We will be reimbursed from the state.”
“With help from the bond counsel we will get 70 to 72% of reimbursement which is very high,” the administrator said.
“We are looking to hold a presentation with the public,” Board President James Malden said. “We want to make sure everyone is aware before they see it on the ballot.”
A date for that presentation that is tentatively set for some time in September and will be confirmed by the bond counsel. Most likely it will not be held at the same gathering as a meeting with the mayor and council. This meeting was requested by the governing body to be updated on the status of the school district and recent test score results.
Angelica DeJesus who serves as the school liaison program manager, School Liaison Services at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst brought up the possibility of a technology grant for the school district.
She explained, “it is a Back-to-School Technology grant for the school year of 2023-24 from the National Science Foundation that transferred over to Cyber.org. I wanted to let you know where to go with this. It says it takes only 15 minutes to complete the application.”
The Lakehurst Elementary School was expected to be ready to reopen for the new school year, including work on the playground, Fuhring said.
Firetto said the playground was fully funded from a preschool grant and the work on the playground was expected to take two days.
As it is a time for contract negotiations within the school district, it was noted that custodial staff and possibly the kitchen staff – if approved – would fall under separate contracts.