Referendum/Facilities Upgrades Information
Referendum UPDATE ~ January 23, 2019
Thank you to everyone who came out to vote in yesterday’s referendum for our schools. While the referendum did not pass, we will continue to work collaboratively to address the critical needs of our schools. This will include keeping lines of communication open with residents, parents, staff and City Officials. We are also extending an invitation to the Mayor and City Council for a joint public meeting to discuss the urgent needs, as well as continued outreach to our community.
Unofficial vote tallies from Tuesday, January 22 are 2225 votes opposed and 638 votes in favor. Vote By Mail ballots that were postmarked by January 22 will be counted in the next two days, and final results will be available from the Bergen County Clerk’s Office.
Voter approval would have allowed for improvements to our aging facilities and construction of a new school to address our growing student population. The Board of Education will continue to work with the school district’s administration to determine next steps, as the District faces these challenges.
Once again, we thank everyone who contributed to this process and voted in this important bond referendum.
Clarification of misleading and incorrect information regarding the upcoming bond referendum
January 19, 2019
The Hackensack Public School District would like to clarify information about the upcoming January 22 school bond referendum. Much of the information recently posted online lacks relevant and accurate facts that the District is happy to share with the community.
Hackensack voters will decide the fate of a $169.9 million bond referendum that would address current and future needs for each school in the district. The proposal would address an increased student population and allow the district to upgrade aging facilities. It also includes a new Junior High School with a 9th Grade Academy focused on better transitioning students to a High School experience.
Why a Bond? School Districts typically do not have enough funding within their budgets for major projects like renovations and new construction. They sell bonds to raise the necessary funds and then pay them back over many years. This not only spreads-out payments but also gives the District access to additional State aid. However, this type of funding requires voter permission, which is requested through a referendum.
Voter approval would allow the District to take advantage of spread-out payments and 24% in State aid (over $41 million).
This referendum would allow the District to accomplish the following goals:
Solve overcrowding at all schools
The district’s enrollment continues to grow. Currently we service approximately 5,800 students, an increase of nearly 1,000 students since the 2007-2008 school year. Most district schools are at or nearing capacity and the construction of the new building will alleviate overcrowding at all district schools, providing for a long term solution to our growing enrollment.
Improve security with vestibules and more
The safety of our students and staff is a top priority of the District. Through this proposal improvements will be made to all schools to strengthen security including modifying open layouts, re-configuring office locations, replacing doors, creating vestibules and more.
Renovate/improve existing instructional spaces
Many of our district schools were built nearly a century ago when educational needs were vastly different. The proposed referendum will allow for much needed building upgrades, including HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) in classrooms, increased parking, drop off areas, more efficient boilers, new windows, as well as improvements to bathrooms, electrical systems, classrooms, and playgrounds.
Expand access to State-funded preschool
Studies have shown the students who attend preschool perform better throughout their school careers. As such, the district has made it a priority to expand preschool education. Currently the district rents space from the Archdiocese of Newark due to overcrowding in the elementary schools. This referendum will move preschool classes back to neighborhood schools, allow us to expand the number of four-year-old classes, and eliminate the need for a yearly rental/maintenance cost for a non-district owned property.
Build a Junior High School with a 9th Grade Academy
The new Junior High School will feature a 9th grade Academy designed to better transition students to a high school experience. It would provide all students with state-of-the-art, Future-Ready learning facilities. The school would be built on the existing Hackensack High School campus and athletic fields would be improved and gain space by the partial closure of American Legion Drive.
Join us at a Town Hall Meeting
Please join us at one of our Town Hall meetings to learn more about our upcoming Referendum/Facilities Upgrades
- Tuesday, January 15 @ 7pm ~ Referendum Fair at Hackensack High School (135 Beech St)
- Wednesday, January 16 @ 8pm ~ Jackson Avenue School (421 Jackson Avenue)
Previously held meetings:
- Tuesday, December 4, 2018 ~ Nellie K. Parker School (261 Maple Hill Drive)
- Wednesday, December 5, 2018 ~ Fairmount School (105 Grand Ave)
- Thursday, December 6, 2018 ~ Jackson Ave School (421 Jackson Ave)
- Monday, December 10, 2018 ~ Hackensack HS (135 Beech St)
- Tuesday, December 11, 2018 ~ Fanny Meyer Hillers School (56 Longview Ave)
- Wednesday, December 12, 2018 ~ Hackensack Middle School (360 Union St)
- Tuesday, January 8, 2019 ~ Logan Family Life Center at Mount Olive Baptist Church (274 Central Ave)
VOTE Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Polls Open: 2PM -8PM
This proposal is the result of extensive outreach to teachers, parents and administrators, to provide for long-term solutions that would adequately address the programmatic and facilities’ needs of the District, which include but are not limited to growing student enrollment, a need for programmatic upgrades to STEAM and Special Education programs, upgrades to aging facilities and infrastructure, and the need for Universal Preschool Education across the District.
The project would include building a new Junior High School complete with a 9th Grade Academy, and making long overdue upgrades to existing District schools. The proposed building would be constructed on the existing Hackensack High School campus, creating a new and expanded Junior/Senior High School campus. The addition of this building would give the District the ability to reconfigure existing schools. The elementary schools, which currently serve students in grades K-4, would become PreK-2 community schools. The existing 5–8 Middle School would be converted to an Upper Elementary building serving grades 3-6. The new building would be a Junior High School for grades 7-9, including the 9th Grade Academy, and the Senior High School would serve grades 10-12.
The new building would provide all students, including students from the sending districts, with new state-of-the-art, Future-Ready learning facilities and a transitional program to better prepare them for their high school experience.
Upgrades to the existing buildings include retrofitting facilities to comply with state standards for preschool classrooms, adding security vestibules, handicap accessibility, drop off areas in all elementary schools as well as heating/cooling upgrades, including central air conditioning.
This effort is part of a long-range facilities plan that includes other upgrades that will be addressed through capital reserve funds. But despite yearly budgeting for ongoing maintenance, like with many other districts across the State, the needs of school facilities in Hackensack are far too great to address without additional funding. In order to make the major facilities updates that are needed district-wide, the District will need the support of all Hackensack residents. This begins with submission of the facilities plan in July to the New Jersey Department of Education, followed by a public vote.
To view a complete breakdown of the project by school with projected costs, please click here.
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