TOMS RIVER – Tuesday night will be the first of many public hearings where school officials will be presenting plans for a referendum to raise funds to fix maintenance issues at all the schools.
“Our facilities are in need of repair and update,” Superintendent David Healy said. “It’s no secret our buildings need work, in fairness to the buildings and grounds department who have been maintaining the schools.”
The meetings are designed to educate voters on the Energy Savings Improvement Program and referendum projects.
In 2013, the district commissioned an independent firm to assess the needs of the district. This result in an estimated $160 million in needs, Healy said. The work would be spread out between 18 schools and five other district-owned buildings.
Some of this is going to be taken care of without leaning on the taxpayers. The Energy Savings Improvement Program portion of it is expected to provide $17.8 million in upgrades that would save the district money through being more energy efficient.
The remainder would be funded through a bond referendum.
Some of the upgrades being discussed are: parking lots, instructional spaces including secondary science labs, heating and ventilation systems, energy-efficient LED lighting, restrooms, and efforts to improve playgrounds at the elementary level, with more accessibility for disabled students.
“We cannot continue to effectively sustain our efforts in essentially bandaging multiple infrastructure issues that are outdated, have far exceeded their life expectancy and continue to strain the staff and resources of our school district,” Healy said. “We are genuinely excited that, after years of planning and preparation, we’re getting down to the business of actually addressing these needs, which will drastically improve the educational experience for our students.”
Meetings held at each school will describe the overall scope of the project while focusing on the improvements at the school hosting the meeting. The meeting schedule is as follows:
- 6, 6:30 p.m.: Silver Bay Elementary
- 6, 8 p.m.: High School North
- 8, 6:30 p.m.: West Dover Elementary
- 8, 8 p.m.: High School South
- 13, 6:30 p.m.: Pine Beach Elementary
- 13, 8 p.m.: High School East
- 27, 6:30 p.m.: Hooper Avenue Elementary
- 27, 8 p.m.: Intermediate East
- March 1, 6:30 p.m.: South Toms River Elementary
- March 1, 8 p.m.: Intermediate South
- March 6, 6:30 p.m.: North Dover Elementary
- March 6, 8 p.m.: Intermediate North
- March 13, 6:30 p.m.: Beachwood Elementary
- March 13, 8 p.m.: Washington Street Elementary
- March 22, 6:30 p.m.: Joseph Citta Elementary
- March 22, 8 p.m.: Walnut Street Elementary
March 27, 6:30 p.m.: Cedar Grove Elementary and ELC
March 27, 8 p.m.: East Dover Elementary