For Immediate Release – January 19, 2023
Springfield Public Schools to hold March 14 bond referendum to fund infrastructure upgrades, facilities updates
State aid would fund 33% of project costs
Springfield, NJ – The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education will ask the community to vote March 14, 2023, on a $32.9 million bond referendum that would fund vital infrastructure upgrades, building repairs and renovations, and safety and security updates. State aid that is only available through a voter-approved bond referendum would cover 33 percent of the cost of the projects and help keep the tax impact to a minimum.
Springfield Public Schools, a PK-12 district in Union County, did a thorough review of its infrastructure to identify the most pressing projects focused on student safety as well as infrastructure and efficiency.
“Now is the time to make critical infrastructure upgrades in our buildings to support the strong academic environment we have worked with the community to create for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rachel Goldberg. “The combination of state aid from the bond referendum and retiring current debt would give us the opportunity to make these important improvements with no additional tax for question one and only a slight tax increase for question two.”
An investment in the Springfield community
The district worked with advisors to carefully choose projects that would both meet district needs and maximize the amount of aid available from the state. The projects have been broken down into two questions on the ballot. Together, the questions provide for a significant investment in the infrastructure and security funding for critical future improvements.
Because existing debt from previous improvements is scheduled to retire, the first question would be tax neutral, meaning no new school debt tax increase for residents. For question two on the ballot, taxpayers would see a slight increase of less than $8 in the debt service tax levy for a home assessed at the Township of Springfield’s average of $553,097.
Projects to benefit every student
The proposed improvements center on student safety and infrastructure improvements, which the district considers critical to meeting students’ core needs of providing them with school buildings that are safe, secure, and comfortable.
The first question includes funding, with no tax increase, for:
Safety and security upgrades - for all five buildings - that are the new standard in schools, including cameras that capture better quality footage, are motion activated, and connect to a cloud-based video system that police and school staff can access during emergencies, and new exterior doors with ballistic glazing for added protection.
New heating and ventilation for classrooms, as well as air conditioning for larger spaces, such as cafeterias, gyms, and media centers; and electrical systems that would support these system upgrades.
Bathroom renovations to improve plumbing and sewer systems and the upgrade of older bathroom fixtures to more efficient ones.
The second question serves to extend the scope of the work in the first question, and includes funding, with a slight tax increase, for additional projects:
Air conditioning upgrades for classrooms at each of the five district schools.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades to art and music rooms as well as some conference rooms and bathrooms, and a backup boiler for Sandmeier.
Refreshing the gyms at Dayton and Gaudineer by replacing the windows with translucent panels to support consistent temperatures without minimizing natural lighting.
The district will use various means to educate all voters, including a dedicated website, www.springfieldschools.com/referendum, social media, and special bond referendum forums. Residents can also send questions about the bond referendum to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Springfield Public Schools school leaders note the referendum is a financially strategic way to ensure the district maintains the high standards that attract residents. In addition to free preschool, full day kindergarten, and an educational program crafted to support student success, the district continues to be recognized nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and among and the top 100 districts in New Jersey by Niche.com.
“Investing in our schools is an important way to invest in our whole community – people move to Springfield for the great schools,” said Board Member Hector Munoz. “The bond referendum will support our schools to provide our current and future students and residents with comfortable and safe spaces for teaching, learning, and sharing in community.”