Rutherford Public Schools' Referendum
This site explains and illustrates the plan to better our schools in Rutherford. Please take the time to navigate this site, as you will find important and detailed information about this referendum that will ultimately benefit the entire Rutherford community. We are updating this site frequently, so be sure to check back for news, updates, and announcements.
A Message to the Rutherford Community:
The Rutherford community has voted to reject the proposed $53M referendum to improve our school facilities. While this is a disappointing result, we still need to provide adequate space for our growing enrollment and create environments to support our students academically. We will examine our plan to determine if there is a less encompassing alternative that could still give us more classroom space and make the district compliant with federal and state mandates, even if it does not fulfill all of our needs.
Thank you to all of the voters who became informed and supported the proposal.
Jack Hurley, Superintendent of Schools
Informative Building Videos
Please view these informative videos from each building regarding the Referendum.
Rutherford High School
Important ANNOUNCEMENTS & website updates
- Click here to read a letter from Mr. Hurley regarding the referendum, updated on September 28, 2018.
- Please visit the Research page to read a letter of support for the Referendum sent by the Board of Education to the local newspapers, updated on September 26, 2018.
- Please visit the Research page to view the document outlining the case for a district-wide kitchen and cafeteria at RHS, updated on September 25, 2018.
- Please visit the Research page to view the Capacity Analysis Report and a memo from Mr. Hurley, updated on September 19, 2018.
- The Rutherford Parent Teacher Council representing the PTAs of each school endorses and supports the Rutherford Public Schools' Referendum.
- Please visit the Gallery page to view the presentation boards for each school, updated on September 12, 2018.
Topic: Class Space
Problem: As enrollment increases and we offer more programs, our classroom space is impacted.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will provide 11 more classrooms at Pierrepont, 5 new classrooms at RHS, 3 classrooms at Union and 2 additional classrooms at Lincoln. This is a total of 21 new classrooms in the district! In addition, students will have expanded space for physical education classes as we add a gym at Union and Pierrepont. The “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” Referendum Vote is Tomorrow, October 2nd. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Topic: District-Wide Kitchen
Problem: There is not a working kitchen in the district. In the high school, students need to leave campus or purchase lunch from a small pantry if they decide to stay in the building. In other schools throughout the district, food is prepared off site and then needs to be delivered to all schools throughout the district. This limits food choices to foods that can be delivered early and stay warm in a delivery container.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will add a district working kitchen to the new cafeteria at the high school. Higher quality food choices will be provided to high school students and lunches will be prepared in district for our middle and elementary schools. This district kitchen will also be incorporated into the Rutherford Borough’s Emergency Management Plan.
Topic: Transformation of Pool
Problem: RHS has limited space and is in need of more classrooms for increased enrollment and updated science labs for programming.
Solution: The architect examined the space available at the RHS and presented the BOE with four options. In order to keep the pool, the BOE would need upgrades for the pool at an estimated $1 million dollars. That money would be in addition to new construction for laboratory space. Depending on the option chosen, the new construction would add an additional $2.5 million or $6 million to the proposed referendum. The pool is used by the district only for the RHS Swim Team. The BOE will keep the swim team, but find a pool to host meets and practice, which is the norm throughout the state. Please see the Referendum website for details on the four proposals and discussion points.
Topic: Security at RHS
Problem: The least secure time in any facility is arrival and departure. With an undersized cafeteria, RHS has to allow students to leave the campus during lunch. This increases the amount of time students are entering and leaving the building.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will add a new, larger cafeteria that can hold more students. This will allow administration to have the option of closing the lunch periods to improve security and handle lunch needs during inclement weather.
Topic: Overcrowded Classrooms at Pierrepont
Problem: Class sizes are larger across some grade levels. A particular focus is sixth grade where all homerooms house at least 27 students per class.
Solution: Investing in “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will add 11 additional classrooms that could allow for reduced class size and special programs.
Topic: Rutherford High School Field
Problem: In its current condition, the RHS field cannot keep up with the amount of usage it gets from physical education classes, band, team practices, and recreation programs. The RHS field is inadequate, uneven, and unreliable.
Solution: Investing in “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will provide for a turfed field at RHS that can sufficiently handle the use by our students for physical education classes, band and team practices, and our town recreational sports. The proposed turf field would be the best way to provide a safe facility designed to deal with the frequent usage by our students and our community members.
Topic: Science Labs
Problem: Rutherford High School science labs were built in the 1970’s and are significantly below Rutherford and state standards. Union School does not have any dedicated science/STEM labs. The library is currently housing the Makerspace and zSpace Labs.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will provide four state of the art science labs at RHS and 3 science labs at Union School. The former science labs at RHS will be converted into 5 classrooms and Union School will be able to use their library as intended.
Topic: Cost of Referendum
Problem: Rutherford is expanding its programs and increasing in enrollment. However, we are limited by space and aging facilities.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will deliver 21 modern classrooms (including new science labs), expand our gym usage, improve the RHS field and address the overcrowding at lunch. It also will allow for a nurse's bathroom and elevator at the K Center. The average $430,000 home would pay approximately $33.48 per month on a 25-year bond and approximately $29.72 on a 30-year bond.
Topic: Outdated Facilities
Problem: Union’s wooden floors have warped; the columns are deteriorating and there is no air-conditioning in the auditorium.
Solution: Investing in “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will replace existing floors, maintain the architectural integrity of the columns and provide air-conditioning for school and community events.
Topic: Rutherford High School Mortimer Wing
Problem: The Mortimer Wing at RHS was built in the 1950s. The windows can no longer be replaced, the heating and air conditioning are not energy efficient. In addition, the wing is an eyesore.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will provide a complete renovation of the Mortimer Wing. It will provide energy-efficient classrooms and improve the architectural integrity with the original building.
Topic: Voter Registration
Problem: Residents may be away for the October 2nd Referendum vote.
Solution: Residents can request a mail-in ballot by clicking the link below Bergen County Vote By Mail Ballot Application - English Residents must make a request for an absentee ballot by September 25th to vote on October 2nd.
Problem: The gymnasiums at Union and Pierrepont Schools are approximately 50% the size of the Department of Education standard.
Solution: Investing in “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will provide a modern gymnasium that will allow graduation to be held at Union, school-wide assemblies at Pierrepont, enhanced physical education classes and a possibility of a middle school sports program. Modern gymnasiums will also provide a facility for community events.
Topic: Voter Registration
Problem: Not all Rutherford residents are registered to vote.
Solution: Residents can register to vote via this link Bergen County Voter Registration Application Form - English or visit https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html. Residents must be registered by September 11, 2018 to vote in the October 2nd Referendum.
Topic: Referendum Presentations
Problem: Residents may want to learn more about the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum.
Solution: Attend one of the following presentations to learn about the proposed facility improvements at each school in the district:
- September 10th Kip Center 10 a.m.
- September 13th RHS Auditorium 4 p.m.
- September 21st Rutherford Public Library 10 a.m.
- September 25th Union School 7 p.m.
- September 27th Pierrepont 7 p.m.
- September 29th RHS Cafeteria 10 a.m.
Topic: Class Size
Problem: Rutherford classrooms in every school are above capacity and enrollment will grow by almost 27 students each year for at least the next five years.
Solution: Investing in the “Our Kids, Our Vision, Our Future” referendum will deliver 21 modern classrooms (including new science labs), providing over 2,600 students significantly enhanced learning environments.
- Information about registering to vote and applications to vote by mail can be obtained from the Bergen County Clerk's office, by visiting elections.nj.gov, or by calling 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837).
- The deadline to register to vote is September 11, 2018.