Referendum Update: Potential for Two Ballot Questions
Posted on 07/12/2018

Dear families, staff, and members of the community,

At a special working session this past Tuesday night, the Board of Education discussed the proposal of its Facilities Committee to split our planned $129.6 million school referendum into two questions to be voted on this fall.  The Facilities Committee believes such an approach affirms the District’s commitment to the wide range of needs that we have identified for our students, while also being responsive to the concerns we have heard from some community members regarding the tax impact of the referendum, particularly in the first few years.  Splitting the referendum into two questions provides our community with choices.

The first question would be for $80.8 million and would include:

  • Building the 5/6 School at our Valley Road site; 
  • Security improvements and upgrades at all six school buildings; 
  • HVAC and electrical upgrades at all six school buildings; 
  • Renovation of some spaces at John Witherspoon Middle School; 
  • The addition of four classrooms and a teacher collaboration room at PHS;   
  • Athletic improvements; and 
  • The purchase of the Thanet property. 

The second question would be for $48.8 million, which is the balance of the full referendum initially put forward by the Board.  It would include:

  • The expansion of PHS through infilling the courtyards, as well as the abatement and fire suppression associated with that expansion;
  •  Other improvements at the PHS, such renovations of existing spaces, including science rooms, cafeteria spaces and locker rooms; and
  • Turfing of the upper field. 

Our architect’s presentation details the projects and the tax impact associated with splitting the referendum into two questions. The presentation also shows currently proposed elevations for the 5/6 School. 

At its regular meeting next Tuesday, July 17th, the Board will be voting on the decision to split the referendum into two questions.  If the Board proceeds with a two-question option, it is likely, given state requirements and necessary approvals, that the vote on the referendum would be moved to November 6, 2018, as part of the general election.

As we continue to refine the referendum plan, the Board and I continue to welcome feedback and participation from the community.  Information about the referendum can be found on our website and comments can be sent to referendum@princetonk12.org.  I will also be joining our architect, Scott Downie, for a community question-and-answer session hosted by the Princeton Public Library on Saturday, July 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the community room.

Princeton places the highest value on quality and cost-effective education for its children. We are committed to a facilities referendum that does the same.

Sincerely, 

Steve Cochrane