November 21, 2018 Press Release
Building a Brighter Future: Hackensack Board of Education Moves Forward with Plans for a New School and Major District-Wide Facilities Upgrades
HACKENSACK, NJ – On Tuesday evening, the Hackensack Board of Education presented to the public a resolution, which includes the proposal that will be submitted to the voters at a special school district election on January 22, 2019. The resolution bringing forth a referendum for district-wide facilities renovations, alterations, and a new school was approved unanimously by the Board with a vote of 7–0.
The Board is seeking voter approval, via a ballot question, for comprehensive upgrades and improvements to school facilities throughout the District, including construction of a new school building that will service students in grades 7, 8, and 9. This project will include a parking garage servicing the current high school, and the proposed new school, along with renovations, alterations, security vestibules and air conditioning for all schools.
If approved, this referendum would allow the District to accomplish the following goals:
Address overcrowding at all District schools
The district’s enrollment continues to grow. Currently we service 5,822 students, a figure that represents an increase of approximately 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 School Security
Security is critical to keeping students and faculty safe, and is a priority for this proposed referendum. Vestibules provide additional protection by adding a secured space where visitors enter and sign in before gaining access to the building.
Renovate/Improve Existing Schools
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 Preschool Education Opportunities:
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.
Provide for a 9th Grade Academy
The new building will provide for a 9th grade Academy, whose focus will be to better transition students to a high school experience that prepares them for the increasing competition of attending competitive four-year colleges and the demanding job market.
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 on January 22, 2019.
The total estimated cost for construction of district-wide upgrades including new construction, renovations, alterations, and heating/cooling upgrades is $169,904,226. The approved State aid for the new construction came in at the maximum level of 14%, while the maximum of 40% was also received for alterations and HVAC upgrades. However, aid for renovations came in slightly under 40% due to inclusion of the high school field house in this category, which is not eligible for funding, according to State guidelines. Overall, State aid will off-set the cost of the total project by 24.36%, or $41,388,670.
The breakdown of the State aid the District will receive is as follows:
Based on the average assessed home value of $245,431, the proposed bond referendum translates into an average tax impact of $308.66 per year.
June 26, 2018 Press Release
Hackensack Public School District Proposes Plans for New Junior High and
Major District-Wide Facilities Upgrades
On Tuesday evening, the Hackensack Board of Education presented to the public a comprehensive proposal to overhaul district facilities and upgrade educational programs. 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.
“The proposed plan offered by the Board of Education on Tuesday night represents a long-term solution that brings our District into the 21st century and allows us to expand and add programs, such as Universal Full-Day Preschool,” Acting Superintendent Rosemary Marks explained.
The Board of Education is working hard to provide members of the public with as much up-to-date information on the status of this plan as possible. Information on the Facilities Proposal, including Frequently Asked Questions, is available on the district website. Additionally, the Board of Education is currently seeking interested members of the public to join its Advisory Team. “Together we can ensure that Hackensack Public Schools reflects the change and forward movement of our community, for the next generation of Comets,” Board President Lara Rodriguez emphasized.
The total estimated cost of $164,122,326 for construction of district-wide upgrades, including new construction, renovations, alterations, and heating/cooling upgrades is itemized as follows:
- Fairmount School – $10,417,463
- Fanny Meyer Hillers School – $9,376,547
- Jackson Avenue School – $3,110,447
- Nellie K. Parker School – $7,171,059
- Hackensack Middle School – $16,468,410
- Hackensack High School – $17,346,650
- New Parking Garage – $6,285,000
- New 7-8-9/Junior High School – $91,446,750
- Hackensack High School Athletic Fields Upgrades – $2,500,000
*Note: Jackson Avenue School currently has the most up-to-date heating and cooling system, and therefore HVAC upgrades are not as extensive/costly as other schools.