January 15, 2016
We are encouraging Readington residents to take the time to vote on the Readington Township School District referendum on Tuesday, January 26th. We support this referendum because if it passes, the referendum will result in approximately $569,000 in state funding going directly toward Readington school repairs that are essential for the functioning and safety of our schools.
While it is unusual to have a vote for savings, here's how it works: This referendum authorizes a bond issue not to exceed $1,780,888 to pay for repairs. The bond issue qualifies Readington for guaranteed NJ state funds that would reduce the cost to the tax payers by the $569,000. That's a 32% savings for Readington residents! If the referendum does not pass, the district will still need to do these repairs, but the tax payers will bear the full cost of the projects directly out of the school district capital reserve account.
No additional taxes will occur regardless of whether the referendum passes.
It's important to realize that these projects concern the safety and functioning of our schools, and the referendum vote is not about whether to do the projects, but rather on how they will be paid. The school district is authorized to utilize these funds for these projects, and the referendum is not asking for permission to complete the projects. The referendum is asking voters to accept the bond in order to qualify for the $569,000.
Voters can review the details of the proposed projects on the Board of Education website and attend the next Board meeting on January 19th at 7:30 PM with any questions.
The State program for debt service officially offers to pay 40% of the cost, but since the State program is never fully funded, the school board estimates that a 32% reimbursement is more likely. Note that the ballot statement for the January 26th referendum will state 40%, even though 32% is more realistic.
The district has sufficient money in its capital reserve account to cover these projects. This account has been built up gradually over the years. With approval of this referendum, bonds will be issued to pay the project costs. After 12-18 months the bonds will be paid off with money that is already in the school district capital reserve account and with the money from the state reimbursement. With this scenario, the end result is that the capital reserve account will have $569,000 more remaining in it than with the "NO" vote scenario. With referendum approval, whatever money is left in capital reserve is available for future needs.
If the vote is NO, the projects will be paid out of the capital reserve account, no reimbursement will occur and the capital reserve account will have $569,000 less than if the referendum had passed.
The benefit to the Readington tax payer is in the future. When the next large future project arrives, the $569,000 from the "YES" vote will help pay for it. Otherwise the money would have to be raised from the tax payers.
Voting will be at the Municipal Building or at Three Bridges Fire House on January 26th, from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Registered voters will receive a sample ballot in the mail with their voting location designated. There will only be two voting locations for this election in order to minimize costs.
Voters can review a description of the projects in the Superintendent's December Newsletter.