Maple Shade voters narrowly approve two school bond questions
Voters in Maple Shade this week narrowly approved two ballot questions that will add nearly $50 million in improvements to the town's public schools.
Maple Shade voters have narrowly approved two school bond proposals to finance repairs and renovations at all four schools in the Burlington County district, officials announced Friday.
The district had to wait until a final tally was counted by the county Board of Elections of 205 provisional and mail-in ballots from Tuesday’s election.
“It was hard to wait through the three-day process of making sure every vote was counted and the results were tallied, but we’re happy to report that both of Maple Shade’s bond proposal questions passed,” Superintendent Beth Norcia said in a statement.
By a 720-657 margin, voters approved Question 1 to spend $43 million for renovations and security upgrades at Yocum Elementary, building a nine-classroom addition at Wilkins Elementary, and adding a new auxiliary gym addition and renovations at Maple Shade High.
Voters also passed Question 2 by a 695-679 margin to spend $6.7 million to replace the HVAC at three elementary schools and install a security vestibule at the main entrance. The second proposal was contingent upon approval of the first question.
Under a 20-year bond, both questions will add $180.06 a year in new property taxes for a home assessed at the township average of $158,914.
Statewide, voters in five school districts Tuesday approved school construction projects totaling more than $206.8 million, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association. The state will fund at least 40 percent of some school construction costs through annual debt service aid.
Voters in Cherry Hill and three other districts rejected spending proposals.
Cherry Hill proposed the largest referendum, $210.7 million. It was the biggest single school bond referendum in New Jersey in at least a decade.
The funds would have been used for new security vestibules, multipurpose rooms, renovated science labs, locker rooms, infrastructure, and asbestos projects. The district is among the largest in South Jersey with about 11,200 students.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected three sequential spending questions that would have raised property taxes by $307 a year for the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $223,500. Approval for the first proposal was needed for the second and third proposals to pass.
Superintendent Joseph Meloche is expected to discuss next steps at a school board meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, the school chief said he would likely ask the board to consider bringing the same proposal for a vote again.
School boards may propose a bond issue or special question five times a year. The next date available for a special election is in March.