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Thank you for supporting and passing the Referendum project!

Referendum Newsletter

Introduction

In order to accommodate the growing enrollment in our school system, the Secaucus Board of Education (BOE) has developed plans to implement a grade realignment at the district schools.  A public referendum to approve the funding for construction in the school district has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 10, 2013. To provide information and to address residents’ concerns and questions, the district has developed this fact sheet. The fact sheet will be updated as needed to keep all information current.

A PDF of the plans is available here.  Please use your browser's BACK button to return to this page.

The Secaucus Board of Education welcomes your questions and/or comments via email, or in person.

 

Web site: www.sboe.us

E-mail: referendum@sboe.us

 

District Overview

The Secaucus School District currently operates four schools enrolling 2,185 students. Two schools serve grades K-6, Huber Elementary and Clarendon Elementary with a total student population of 1,289 students.  The Secaucus Junior High School currently serves grades 7-8 with 311 students. The Senior High School includes grades 9-12 and has an enrollment of 585 students.


Students in grades K-4 work in self-contained classes and receive instruction in art, music, physical education, and library skills from specialists.  These students also receive instruction in world language once per six day rotation.  Instrumental music lessons are available beginning in grade 4. Students in grade 5 are taught by teams of teachers and are regrouped during the day for various subjects. Specialists instruct students in art, music, physical education, and library skills.

 

At the middle and high schools, students are taught by teams of teachers and are regrouped during the day for various subjects. Beyond the basics of English, math, science, and social studies, students also participate in exploratory programs of music (instrumental, vocal, general), art, technology education, physical education; and in world language.


Special needs are met through resource room, basic skills, and gifted and talented programs in grades K-5.  The latter includes in-class work in grades K-2, a pullout program in grades 3-5, and a variety of offerings in grades 2-5.

 

The high school offers a traditional academic program including a variety of electives in business, art, music, and technology education.  Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available in English, biology, calculus, US history, European history, economics, psychology, chemistry, physics and art as well as offering 17 honors courses.

 

Facility Planning Overview

The plan for the Secaucus Middle-High School calls for the construction of an academic wing including 11 classrooms, a green lab, and administration office, and a physical education wing totaling approximately 58,870 square feet. The design solution is to realign the district wherein the sixth grade is relocated to the junior high school which allows the school board to cultivate a 6-8 grade middle school program that is consistent with the New Jersey Department of Education model.




GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Q1.      What is a bond referendum?

A bond referendum seeks public approval for the financing of major school construction projects. The referendum will specify the amount of money to be raised. If approved, bonds are issued and are typically paid back over a period of 15 to 30 years. Under current state education funding provisions, the BOE will seek debt service aid from the state.  If approved, this will mean that the state will pay a percentage of annual payments to bond holders, thus saving money for our local taxpayers.

 

Q2.      When will the Secaucus Board of Education referendum take place?

Voters will be asked to cast ballots on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Polls will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

WARD       DISTRICT             ADDRESS                              DESCRIPTION

1                      1                      685 5th Street                         Clarendon School

1                      2                      53 Centre Ave.                        1st Reformed Church

1                      3                      272 County Avenue                Fire House

1                      4, 5                  Plaza Center                            Fire House

 

2                      1-5                   1520 Paterson Plank Rd.        Huber Street School

 

3                      1                      685 5th Street                         Clarendon School

3                      2                      1 Harmon Cove                      Recreation Bldg.

3                      3                      777 5th Street                         Community Room

3                      4                      764 7th Street                         Fire House

 

Q3.      What prompted the district to explore a possible referendum?

The need to expand the school facilities was expected and became apparent after studying closely projected and current enrollments for the next five years along with monitoring closely building permits and anticipates housing projects currently being considered by the planning board. This growth continues at a steady pace and is projected to continue over the next five years. The sales of property to families with school age children will have considerable impact on the district. The expanded facilities shall be designed and constructed to create an environment with a plan concept conducive to the learning styles and curriculum needs of our district population. 

 

Q4.      What does the proposed referendum project include?

The project includes expansion, renovation and change-of-use designs.

 

The design solution for the Middle/High School will also include the following renovations and change-of-use:

 

·         Six academic classrooms

·         STEM lab for science, technology, engineering and mathematics

·         Discovery science room

·         Two science laboratories

·         Green house

·         Prep room

·         Support service such as storage room, and corridors

·         Convert the existing art room and storage rooms into three academic classrooms 

·         Convert the existing wrestling room into one academic classroom for health education

·         Convert one existing faculty lounge, employee orientation, and special education into the middle school offices for enhanced security at the middle school entrance

·         Convert a portion of the existing main office into one academic classroom and faculty room

 

The high school renovations include:

·         Gymnasium

·         Boys locker room

·         Girls locker room

·         Athletic training room

·         Weight room and support spaces

·         Two uniform storage rooms at the PAC

·         Scenery construction room at the PAC

·         Main/Guidance offices for enhanced security

·         Environmental sciences lab

·         Support service such as storage room, and corridors

·         Expand the existing media center to into the existing guidance office and HS office

·         Convert portion of the existing media center into a computer lab

·         Modify portions of the existing gymnasium into a corridor for access to high school physical education addition with the existing gymnasium to serve middle school students

·         Support service such as storage room and corridor

·         Convert an existing classroom into school store and director of security office

·         Convert the existing room 44 into the wrestling room

·         Relocate the existing computer lab to the typing lab 103

·         Convert  the existing computer lab 104 into the technology classroom 

·         Divide the existing consumer sciences into fashion and culinary labs

·         Expand the existing cafeteria by removing the existing stage and relocating the weight room

·         Convert existing resource room, computer lab, and reading lab into art studio, dark room, and storage

·         Convert existing audio/visual lab, and language room into two academic classrooms and One TV Studio

 

Q5.      If approved on December 10, when will construction commence and when will it be completed?

If the referendum is approved on December 10, the design and construction time frame for the entire project is approximately 31 months which ensures completion of the project for the 2016-2017 school year.

  

REFERENDUM TAX IMPACT & COSTS

 

Q6.      What is this referendum going to cost me?

The total cost of the project will be $27,400,000. The approved debt service aid from the state is $6,904,222. The maximum amount of tax impact to residents is $63 per $100,000 of assessed property value, and reduced to $14 per $100,000 of assessed property value towards the end of the 20-year bond. The district is currently paying down two bonds which accounts for the higher rate in the beginning and as the previous bonds are paid down, the tax impact on resident homeowners becomes less.


Q7.      What is debt service aid and how will it help the district?

Debt service aid is a partial payment of a bond from the state based on eligible costs. The state determines eligible costs by reviewing the proposed project submitted by the district. The state may fund a percentage of the projects eligible costs and would pay a portion of the loan each year including principal and interest. State aid would not be given unless the referendum was approved by voters.

  

Tax Programs for Senior Citizens

 

Q8.      Are there programs available for senior citizens to offset the tax increases of a proposed referendum?

  

Property Tax Reimbursement Eligibility Requirements

http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/ptr/eligibility.shtml

You may be eligible for a reimbursement of the difference between the amount of property taxes you paid for the base year (the year you first became eligible) and the amount paid for the year for which you are applying for a reimbursement if you met all the following requirements for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the year for which you are claiming the reimbursement.

1.    You are age 65 or older or receiving Federal Social Security disability benefits; and

2.    You have lived in New Jersey continuously for at least the last 10 years, as either a homeowner or a renter; and

3.    You have owned and lived in your home (or have leased a site in a mobile home park on which you have placed a manufactured or mobile home that you own) for at least the last three years; and

4.    You have paid the full amount of property taxes (or site fees if you are a mobile home owner) that were due on your home for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the year for which you are claiming the reimbursement; and

5.    You meet the income limits for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the year for which you are claiming the reimbursement.

Residents applying for the 2012 reimbursement must have total income for 2011 that is $80,000 or less and for 2012 that is $70,000 or less. These limits apply regardless of marital/civil union status. However, applicants who are married or in a civil union must report combined income of both spouses/CU partners.

If your residence is in a multiple-unit building that you own, and the building has more than four units, you are not eligible for a property tax reimbursement. You are also not eligible if the building has four units or less but more than one commercial unit.


Q9.      Where can I get more information?

  • Look for information sent through the mail, including a special referendum newsletter. 
  • Attend the November 21st Board of Education meeting and/or presentations throughout the community. The November Board meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. in the SHS/SMS Media Center. 
  • Attend a special referendum open house. District officials, architect and bond attorney will be available to answer residents’ questions. Referendum open houses are currently scheduled for November 21 (BOE meeting) and December 4. Both events will be hosted at the Performing & Creative Arts Center (PAC).
  • Visit the district’s Web site at www.sboe.us
  • If after attending a public meeting or reviewing the web site you have a question, please e-mail referendum@sboe.us . In order to receive a response, all inquiries must include your full name, address and return e-mail address.
  • Watch for periodic updates or coverage in the Secaucus Home News or Secaucus Reporter.
  • Speak to members of the Board of Education about the plan details.


If after attending a public meeting or reviewing the web site you have a question, please e-mail referendum@sboe.us . In order to receive a response all inquiries must include your full name, address and e-mail address.

 

Thank you for visiting and remember to please vote December 10, 2013.


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