Currently, our schools and classrooms face urgent facility needs, specifically in the areas of school safety, security, and HVAC.
In addition, all of the Princeton Public Schools are currently at or over capacity. District enrollment has grown by approximately 10% since 2013, from 3,440 to 3,769 students. Conservative estimates indicate that enrollment will likely rise by another 10% or 380 students by 2022 and still another 8-10% by 2027, for a district-wide total of over 4,500 students. Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School are already out of classroom space, and each of our elementary schools will be over capacity within a few years.
More than 30 public forums have been held on the referendum in the past year, with a number of school tours and information sessions held at the start of the school year and continuing during the fall.
OUR FIRST STEP - DECEMBER 11, 2018 REFERENDUM
During a special election held on December 11, 2018 a majority of Princeton voters approved a $26.9 million bond proposal for critical upgrades to its schools. Voters passed the referendum by a vote of 2,186 to 1,683.
Voters were asked to consider a single question that addressed the district's most urgent needs, including safety, security and HVAC updates at all schools. The question also provided 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. During a special board meeting on October 9, 2018 the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education voted 10-0 to approve a resolution for the bond proposal.
The December 11 referendum is an important first step of a multi-staged plan to reach broad consensus on how best to address the significant capacity issue at our middle school and high school.
In approving the question for a December 11 referendum and in affirming a process to address additional needs in the future, the Board had three goals:
1) To immediately address the most urgent facility needs at all of our schools, including safety, security and HVAC, as well as to provide some critical enhancements at Princeton High School.
2) To honor the economic diversity in our town and the equity central to our mission as a school district.
3) To present a question and a path forward with the potential to unite our community.
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