Plumsted Township Schools

Bond Referendum

Key Objectives:

Overview and Project

Why is the Plumsted Township School District holding a bond referendum in 2018?

The Plumsted Township Board of Education and Administration considered multiple factors when deciding to move forward with the bond referendum on October 2, 2018.

• In June of 2017, the Plumsted Township Board of Education approved a 5-year Strategic Plan. As part of that plan, the Board of Education approved the development of community committees made up of 2-3 community members, 2 students, 2 teachers, 2 administrators and 2 Board of Education members. There were five (5) committees that met three times over the course of the 2017-2018 school year. The Warrior 2022 Committee was charged with developing a long-range facility update for capital projects and facility improvements that will be necessary to continue to maintain the infrastructure of the district, as well as enhance the district. In addition, they were charged with preparing for the possible need for a referendum to successfully address the current and future needs of the district. It was the recommendation of the Warrior 2022 committee to the Board of Education that initiated the plans for the referendum.

• In today’s world, the health, safety and security of students and staff are as integral to the school environment as classrooms, academics and extra- curricular activities. The referendum will improve the safety and security of the learning environment for all students including those with special needs. The referendum will fund main entrance and transportation safety renovations, an updated emergency communication system which will provide staff members with a safer and easier way to contact emergency services if needed, new state of the art cameras will encompass all schools as well as the grounds in the district and new exterior doors at the high school.

• The Dr. Gerald H. Woehr Elementary School has had additions to the original Grant Building over the last 80 years. The school has undergone some renovations and upgrades; and has been well maintained over the years. There was a new roof put on five (5) years ago; but there are major upgrades needed to the HVAC system that go beyond maintenance. Additionally, the entire parking lot will be reconfigured to improve the safety of the students and the efficiency of drop-off and pick-up of our students.

• New Egypt High School opened in 1995 and has a geo-thermal heating and cooling system that is still considered state of the art. The heat pumps that are needed to control and distribute the HVAC have an average life of 18-20 years. This is year 23 and they need to be replaced to insure the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.

• Replacing all lighting in the buildings with new energy efficient LED lighting systems that will improve the length of use while making the district more energy efficient by

reducing operational expense, devote employee maintenance to other projects and realize a savings in energy costs.

• Reconfiguring the current District Central Office in New Egypt High School into two multiple disability rooms, small group instruction rooms, dedicated speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy rooms allowing our neediest students to have full access to services and training while being mainstreamed with their peers in the building. The District central offices would be moved to the Primary School.

• Expanding the New Egypt High School media center and cafeteria to create a student center that will include multi-media technologies and resources for the students and community. The student center will also house the Digital Media/Video Academy, an additional classroom, small group rooms, small stage for individual and one act performances, as well as presentations. In addition, the expanded cafeteria will also give the district the option to schedule a single lunch period which will add instructional study time for students and staff, while enhancing the overall school climate.

• The New Egypt High School Auditorium will have a sound and lighting booth constructed in the back of the auditorium facilities.

• Interest rates are still relatively low and construction costs are stable. The state will fund 34% of the total cost of the referendum at this time. Additionally, the district recently had debt expire (paid off) and it is the fiscally expedient move to hold a bond referendum at this time.

What projects are included in the proposed referendum?

An approved referendum will fund only essential projects necessary to maintain a safe and secure campus, as well as ensure that Plumsted Township School District provides students with educational opportunities, and maintain high academic standards.

• Main entrance safety renovations, an updated emergency communication system, comprehensive surveillance cameras for all schools and grounds and new entrance doors at New Egypt High School.

• New HVAC in the Dr. Gerald H. Woehr Elementary School.

• New reconfiguration of Elementary School parking lot to improve safety and efficiency.

• Replace all heat pumps in New Egypt High School.

• Replace all lighting in the buildings with energy efficient LED lights.

• Reconfiguring the current central office in New Egypt High School into two multiple disability rooms allowing our neediest students to have full access to services and training while being mainstreamed with their peers in the building. The central office would be moved to the Primary School.

What are the benefits of facility renovations?

There are a number of important reasons to implement a facilities renovation project now:

• Health, Safety and Security

• Core Infrastructure

• Academics

• Fiscal Responsibility

When was the last time voters approved a Plumsted Township School District Referendum and what did it fund?

The last successful referendum was 2002 when voters approved funding for the Primary School. Prior to the 2002 referendum, in 1998, 20 years ago, voters approved funding a new middle school, athletic field house, a concession stand/outdoor bathrooms and 12 athletic fields.

Is it possible to include the renovations and upgrades in the annual school budget, rather than going out for a special referendum?

The cost to renovate and repair the aging facilities cannot be made within the annual budget because:

• The costs will exceed the 2% cap

• An approved referendum will spread the cost of the upgrades and repairs over 20 years

at a relatively low interest rate

Equally important the district will receive state aid only if the facilities renovations and repairs are funded through the referendum. State aid is not available if the projects are completed with the yearly operating budget. This is the most fiscally responsible way to fund the necessary renovations and upgrades.

Does the referendum amount cover the cost of any necessary furniture?

Yes, there is $107,000.00 budgeted for new furniture that is eligible for the state aid support.

If approved, when will the renovation begin and when will they be completed?

If the project is approved by the voters in October of 2018, the project would be tentatively scheduled for bidding and award in March/April 2019. It is anticipated the front entrance work would begin in June 2019. The interior renovations would begin in June 2019 with the majority of the work completed over the summer of 2019 and 2020. Hopefully all renovations and additions would be completed by August 2020.

Will other renovations/additions be necessary in the near future?

The district and its professional consultants have worked very hard to identify the renovations and improvements necessary to the Plumsted Township Schools through the life of the loan. The district DOES NOT anticipate major renovation and improvements in the foreseeable future. Of course, routine maintenance will be required for typical wear and tear on the buildings.

What is the outcome, if the referendum is not passed?

The Board of Education has only planned for a successful referendum and not a failed one. Therefore, we will not speculate on the future plans of the bond. However, it is important to note that any repairs and renovation completed without a successful referendum would take place without state aid (34%). Repairs would be on an as needed basis which would be reactive and continue the pattern for breakdown and complaints.

Equally important, the District will receive state aid only if the facilities renovations and repairs are funded through the referendum. State aid is not available if the projects are compiled within the yearly operating budget. This is the most fiscally responsible way to fund the necessary renovations and upgrades.