The school board for the Princeton Public Schools is slated to vote Tuesday night on submitting proposed bond referendum projects to the New Jersey Department of Education for approval. The public meeting via Zoom will begin at 7:30 p.m.
District Business Administrator Matt Bouldin and Anthony Catana of the Spiezle Architectural Group will make a presentation at the board meeting.
If the state approves the proposed projects, voters will weigh in on the bond referendum at a special election in January of 2022. Districts can choose from four dates each year to hold a special election, or they can put referendums on the November ballot in the general election.
The bond referendum would fund roof replacements at all six schools in the district, along with rooftop HVAC replacements. Siding would be replaced at Little Brook Elementary and Riverside Elementary, and masonry at the high school would be restored.
Officials have said the referendum likely would be less than $20 million. They have not broken down the cost for the average homeowner yet. Instead, they have only compared the cost to current debt. Some bonds will be retired in 2022 and 2023, so the debt service will not increase from the current levels. The state can provide school districts with debt service aid of up to 34 percent. For the referendum that was approved in 2018, the state covered 25 percent of the costs in the form of debt service aid.
Bouldin said at the June school board meeting that some school roofs are approaching 26 years old, and others will be 17 years old this summer. Mortar joints are deteriorating at the high school, and pieces of concrete have been cracking.
David Harding, director of plant and operations for the district, told the board at the June meeting that the roofs at the middle school and Riverside Elementary School are in decent shape, but the roofs at the other four school buildings are problematic, especially at Littlebrook Elementary.
“It’s not acceptable to see custodians putting out buckets at Littlebrook during storms,” Harding said, adding that the roofs need to be replaced before multiple leaks occur.