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Voters split on bond funding in S. Jersey school districts

Ballot questions would provide for funding of big-ticket improvement projects

Voters delivered mixed results Tuesday in two of three South Jersey school districts on whether to approve bond-issue borrowing for big-ticket improvement projects.

By more than a 2-1 ratio, according to unofficial results, voters in Pennsauken said yes to a $36 million bond issue that would help pay for a security system that involves the installation of "mousetrap" vestibules in all 11 district schools. The vestibules would be equipped with bulletproof glass and two sets of doors that require a buzzer entry.

The bond funding also would go to demolishing Longfellow Elementary School and building a community park and playground on the site, adding classrooms at Phifer Middle School, and turning Roosevelt Elementary into a magnet school. Pennsauken High School's athletic complex would get upgrades, including a new turf field with lights for Friday night games.

In Collingswood, voters overwhelmingly decided against approving $13.7 million in bonds to pay for a replacement sports stadium, a turf field, and a six-lane track. Under the plan, all schools would have gotten new playground surfaces, and a free-standing classroom suite would have been created for special-needs students ages 18 to 21 currently housed at the high school.

In the Northern Burlington County Regional School District, a $39.7 million bond issue was approved by residents, 2,300 to 1,446 to finance construction of an addition to connect the east and west buildings of the high school complex, and pay for renovations to instructional space and new science and technology labs. The district includes North Hanover, Springfield,  Chesterfield and Mansfield.