Community Q & A

These are questions that have been submitted by the community:

                          Community  Questions                                                                 Answers
 What do you plan to do to keep the general budget costs down to offset the increase in taxes from this referendum? In order to answer this question, there is a need to understand the different types of funds and tax levies. While the tax rate is presented as a single number, the rate is actually made from two different rates. One is from the general fund which pays for the teachers, supplies, energy, buses, etc. The other is from the debt approved in the past by the voters. It would be this rate that would increase VERY slightly for only a a few years. The debt we currently have will begin expiring in the next few years. This will allow the district to avoid increases in taxes while using the bond proceeds to ensure we maintain strong buildings.
Are the MS fields repair being done to support MS sports that are trying to be instated and if so, will any money be used to fund the MS Sport program? Decisions about the potential for Middle Sports have not yet been made. There is a committee exploring various options. The fields are used by the Township Recreation Department and our Physical Education classes. Watered fields allow for better conditioning. Better conditioned fields allow for fewer injuries.
 Will our school taxes go up because of this? There is a spreadsheet on our website that demonstrates the current and proposed debt. It may be difficult to believe, but a great deal of thought was put into the timing of this referendum question. For a taxpayer with home assessed at the Burlington Township Average of approximately, $228,000, the largest increase in any one year of the ten years proposed for the debt would be $5.00 a year. This is because we planned this referendum at a time when old debt is expiring to reduce the potential tax impact. This estimate is based on 10 year financing at a rate of 3%.
 Will any of the money from the sale of the bonds be used to fund middle school sports? No, the sale of bonds can only be used to refurbish and renovate the buildings and infrastructure, the funds cannot be used to support the operations of the district, including salaries and fees associated with a Middle School sports program. Those discussions would occur during the budget process.
 Will our school taxes go up because of this? There is a spreadsheet on our website that demonstrates the current and proposed debt. It may be difficult to believe, but a great deal of thought was put into the timing of this referendum question. For a taxpayer with home assessed at the Burlington Township Average of approximately, $228,000, the largest increase in any one year of the ten years proposed for the debt would be $5.00 a year. This is because we planned this referendum at a time when old debt is expiring to reduce the potential tax impact. This estimate is based on 10 year financing at a rate of 3%.
 Please explain how 4.3 million dollars is 50% of the proposed 10.+ million dollars you are asking for. There is a detailed document on the website showing each building and the amount of the total project cost per building and the amounts of eligible and ineligible costs. Eligibility in this case refers not to whether the projects are accepted but rather to whether the projects are eligible for debt service aid. ALL the projects have been approved by the NJDOE. Of the $10.1M, $8.9M are eligible for debt service aid, all projects are allowable by NJDOE.
 Why are you scheduling a referendum to be voted at a time there are no other elections going on? Appears this is a sneak attack to get only supporters to the polls since it will not be on the top of the mind of the other voters. There are only 5 times a year a district may seek approval from the voters. The district had to await approval from the NJDOE and follow a schedule based on submission to the NJDOE of projects, submission to the county elections board.
 Why wasn't there a fund for building repairs? Is the sole reason for spending 10,000,000 - the eligible state aid of 4.5? Is this state aid a guarantee?  The district is only allowed to hold a small amount of funds in reserve. We do not have enough in reserve to handle the projects needed. If we used our reserves for these projects we would loose the potential debt service aid from the state which is a substantial percentage. The state has provided the district a letter of Final Eligible Costs with the percentage of expected state debt service aid.
 Why can't we do some of the repairs? - 10,000,000 is a lot of money and my taxes are close to 10,000 already. The district carefully planned the timing of this referendum to have the least impact on our local taxes as possible. We have current debt that will begin to expire which will allow for the $10.1M in projects to be complete without increasing taxes for the debt service. This portion of the local school tax on your tax bill will not increase (please see the tax impact schedule). There is another component of the local school tax on your bill which funds the operations of the district and this is what cannot be increased by more than the 2% cap.
 Why are we only hearing about this referendum meeting on the day of the meeting? Never mentioned prior.We believe in transparency. This event was advertised through electronic newsletters, the websites, and the electronic board on the corner of Fountain and Jacksonville Rd. The Burlington Foundation advertised this on their website and through their newsletters. Check out the Nov. 1 edition of BTF Connection. Click this link to view all Foundation Newsletters. The Falcon Flyer also featured this information in the Nov. 4th edition of the NewsFlash.
 Will the electricity be upgraded in the Hopkins gym to address the recent outage / overload that caused the power to go out during the Harlem Wizards game? Is that type of issue going to be addressed? The electrical infrastructure in the Hopkins building is under review. The district employs two part time licensed electricians who have been reviewing all electrical operations of the district. The repairs needed have already been accomplished. The district continues to work to upgrade to LED lights and better controls for energy efficiency.
  A couple of million dollars to repair a roof?  This is actually a roof replacement, not a roof repair. We have been doing repairs and unfortunately are at the point where we have to do the replacement.  Unlike a traditional home repair, we are also looking at a total roof space of over 200,000 sq. ft. of roofing to replace.  The Young School roof is about 120,000 sq. ft. and the high school is about 140,000 sq. ft.  This is why it is going to cost is over a million dollars.  We are more than happy to answer any other questions you may have so you have accurate information.  There is a website (http://www.burltwpsch.org/index.php?id=2327 ) that actually breaks everything down as well.  Our goal is to ensure our community members have all of the information they need to be informed voters.  Please contact us with any other questions.
 If the referendum does not get passed where would the funds come from to get the much needed projects completed? The general budget? If so, would there be reductions in teachers/other staffing or programs for the students or even larger class sizes?
What if you don't sell the $10mm in bonds?

(These questions were submitted by several community members.  They have been combined with the answer to the right.)
 Yes, if the referendum is not passed there are some projects that will need to be complete, like the roofs and the track repair and eventually the High School kitchen. The project proposed are to maintain the safety and well being of students, staff and visitors. Some of the projects will not be able to be delayed. If the referendum does not pass the district will have to look at adding these items to the general budget. The budget rules changes a few years ago, districts were once allowed to add these type of repair and refurbishment items to the budget and they would be counted outside the cap. That is no longer the case, now these items must be included inside the cap and will compete against the dollar for the general educational programs.

The Board and Administration have been committed to maintaining class sizes with the goal to reduce class sizes whenever possible. If the referendum does not pass and the environment of the school cannot be maintained, some hard budget decisions made need to be made.



Subpages (1): Community Q & A