Election Dec. 11 to Consider Facilities Upgrades
Posted on 10/10/2018
Tower

At a special board meeting on October 9, the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education approved a resolution that will ask voters to consider a $26.9 million bond proposal for critical upgrades to its schools during an election on December 11, 2018.

Voters are being asked to consider a single question that addresses the district's most urgent needs, including safety, security and HVAC updates at all schools. The question also provides nearly $11 million in upgrades for Princeton High School, including four additional classrooms, a dining distribution center on the main floor, increased space for athletics, and an improved area for student counseling.

While the single question reduces the scope of the original referendum proposal of $129.6 million, the Board expressed the vision of a process that would engage the community in addressing additional building needs and lead to a possible second referendum in the fall of 2019.

“It was important that we found a broad compromise that works for our children and those in our community for whom the full referendum would have created an economic hardship,” said board president Patrick Sullivan. “The common ground we have is to protect and take care of our children.  This is a solution that we believe will bring people together. “

Moving forward, the board will work closely with the community and with town officials to build on the referendum planning of the past 20 months and to reach broad consensus on additional facility needs.

“There continues to be a pressing need to expand capacity particularly at our middle school and high school,” stated Superintendent Steve Cochrane. “Our enrollment is projected to grow by more than 700 students in the next 10 years. We need to provide our current and future students with space – ideally in ways that support what we know to be educational best practices.”

“At the same time we are aware of the very real economic conditions that affect the ability of some in our community to shoulder the tax impact of a larger referendum,” Cochrane continued.   “We are confident that uniting the community now around a smaller question for our schools will better enable us to engage everyone in a process that looks objectively and creatively at how we can provide for our children while honoring the economic diversity of our town.”

More than 30 public forums have been held on the referendum in the past year, with a number of school tours and information sessions during the last month. The next information session will be held on Thursday, October 11 at John Witherspoon Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m.