Voters Approve $10M In School Improvements

The Oxycocus hot water heaters are one of two projects on the list voters approved in a December referendum. (Photo courtesy of the Stafford School District)

STAFFORD – A referendum to make upgrades to Stafford Township’s five schools passed on December 13 by 1,227 votes to 606 votes.

The improvements will mostly cover security, alarm and public address systems, doors, and infrastructure for some of the aging schools. In a letter on the district’s website, Superintendent George Chidiac said not every needed project made the list to be included in the referendum.

“Our current estimate is that there would be no tax impact of this referendum on the average assessed residential property of $300,000,” he said in the letter.

The state offered to cover 40 percent of the referendum’s $10.1 million cost, or $4.06 million.

According to school Business Administrator Dan Smith, on a video on the district’s website, the remaining cost will be bonded. The bonds will be paid off over the course of 20 years. As some of the district’s debt is being paid off, the debt incurred by the referendum will fill that slot.

The McKinley school’s mechanical doors is the other. (Photo courtesy of the Stafford School District)

“Taxes will remain flat the first year, and then steadily decline,” he said.

The referendum focused on a number of key improvements. McKinley Avenue Elementary School will get the bulk of the improvements, according to literature about the referendum.

The district will be purchasing and installing uniform security across the schools, with cameras. New fire alarms and public address systems will be installed. Some external doors, that have rusted, will be replaced. Older, damaged ceilings will also be replaced.

The heating and air condition and ventilation systems will be upgraded. Original electrical infrastructure will need to be replaced since there are no replacement parts being made for the old system anymore. Emergency generators will be installed in case of power outages. Some changes will be made for energy efficiency.

Restrooms will be upgraded for water conservation, and handicap accessibility. Pipes will also be upgraded.