Low turnout as NJ voters approve borrowing $600M for school projects
Ten of 11 school referendums were passed by voters in Thursday’s special election with one vote so far tied.
A yes vote allows the projects to move forward and to be funded by up to 40% debt service aid from the state, which offsets property taxes in the school district.
The Shrewsbury school district in their pitch for support compared it to the way a homeowner uses a home equity loan to pay for a new roof.
Participation was light for most of the referendums with less than 25% turnout, according to county websites where official results were posted.
The vote in Wallington is tied with the count of all in-person vote complete, according to the Bergen County Board of Elections. Early voting and provisional ballots have yet to be counted. Vote by Mail ballots have not all been counted and have six days to arrive.
The highest turnout was 35% in Shrewsbury, which passed its referendum 65%-35%.
The lowest turnout also had one of the highest asks: 12% of voters turned out in Sayreville to pass a $97 million referendum 62%-38%.
Problems at the polls
Voting was not without its problems. An issue with electronic databases at Districts 7 and 45 at St. Mary’s Church in Cherry Hill interrupted early morning voting.
"The issue was resolved early in the morning and the voters at the time were told to come back and to vote on the machine," Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen told New Jersey 101.5.
Keashen said there was a problem with envelopes for provisional ballots. The problem was also resolved first thing in the morning and new envelopes were delivered.
These are the results from Thursday's vote. Mail-in ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. on Thursday and received within six days can still be counted.
- Cherry Hill passed 69%-31% a $363 million referendum, the state's largest in Thursday's vote, for district-wide significant renovations and work in all 19 district school buildings.
- East Hanover passed 62%-38% a $2.1 million referendum for improvments to Central Elementary School and the Board of Education office's efficiency standards.
- Greater Egg Harbor passed 57%-43% a $21 million referendum for gym, lighting and sound system upgrades and improved athletic facilities.
- Kenilworth passed 54%-46% a $31.4 million bond referendum to fund an expansion of the David Brearley Middle-High School, a new turf field and HVAC upgrades.
- Little Silver passed 57%-42% to fund $35.9 million for district-wide facilities renovation.
- Mansfield passed 75%-25% a $2.2 million referendum to finance several projects including a new boiler at John Hydock Elementary School and an upgrade to safety systems.
- Northvale passed 56%-44% a $10.6 million referendum for a new air conditioning system and roof and ceiling replacement.
- Sayreville passed 62%-38% a $97 million referendum nicknamed "Cool The Schools" for air conditioning.
- Shrewsbury passed 64%-35% a $22.5 million referendum for HVAC and air quality improvements, a new lunchroom and three kindergarten rooms.
- Watchung Regional's referendum passed 60%-40% for $8 million in projects on the district's long-range facilities plan. Results from voting in Long Hill were reported Friday morning by the Morris County Board of Elections.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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