Kenilworth has been making strides ...
Now our district is taking the leap with a proposal for strategic improvements.
What is a bond referendum?
A bond referendum asks voters to approve the sale of bonds to upgrade Kenilworth’s schools in ways that impact the day-to-day experiences of our students.
Selling bonds would generate up-front funding for long-term benefits.
Benefits would be seen in just a few years, while costs would spread over a longer time (like a home improvement loan).
State aid that comes only with a voter-approved bond would reduce the cost on local tax bills.
What would it mean for our district?
Our Board of Education proposes to use bonds to support the vision of advancing student instruction and achievement. Already Kenilworth’s initiatives have included more curriculum innovations, a stronger focus on early literacy skills, and enhanced resources for college-bound students.
Create a distinct middle school within the existing building at Brearley, from a separate entrance to a dedicated cafeteria/gym. Think of it as a child getting his own room!
A second-floor expansion would give students additional classrooms, including their own art and music rooms. More than just space, this significant change would:
Align with New Jersey’s academic structure for continuity of learning across grades 6-8
Enhance teachers’ collaboration across middle grades
Strengthen the age-specific support for academic growth, transitions, and sense of belonging, and provide it for students across three full grades
Provide state-of-the-art STEM spaces for middle and high school students. Strong programming in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is an important measure of a high-quality school district. Restructuring the space at Brearley would increase access to STEM instruction:
Middle school students would inherit two high school-level labs
An addition on the first floor would give high school students a high-tech science wing
Improve air quality at both schools with more modern and efficient HVAC systems. With voter approval, these projects plus a separate program funded by energy efficiencies would essentially leave Kenilworth with nearly new HVAC systems including chillers, boilers, unit ventilators and controls.
New, individual units to handle heating, cooling and ventilation for every classroom
Air conditioning for the first time in Brearley’s auxiliary gym, which would become the new middle school gym/cafeteria
Replacement HVAC systems for other areas
Upgrade Brearley’s track and fields for student and community use.
Replace worn track to better serve the students and community members who use it regularly
Install weather-resistant synthetic turf, giving football and soccer players the same benefit as nearly every other high school in Union County
Improve grass fields for baseball and soccer to even out slopes and dips
Expand pre-K services with the space freed up at Harding.
Provide more of the early engagement that prepares students for better academic success
Add a playground for pre-K students
Help move children off the pre-K waiting list and into the classroom
Renovate auditoriums at both schools. Harding’s is nearly 100 years old and has never had a complete renovation.
Both schools' auditoriums need new ceilings, floors and seats
Brearley’s also needs a new stage floor and sound booth
Long-lasting improvements would usher in the next century of student experiences
The Board is considering a bond referendum as part of a financial strategy to give Kenilworth students a full range of educational and enrichment experiences to prepare them for the future. The tentative timeline focuses on a bond referendum in fall 2022.
Community members have a stake in the projects, and those who are registered to vote will determine whether the district can sell bonds to make the proposed improvements. The district will inform residents through various channels, including this website, social media and Q&A events.