On Monday February 22, 2016, the Hopewell Valley Regional School District’s (HVRSD) Board of Education unanimously approved, at its meeting, the “Resolution Authorizing a Special Election of the Board of Education of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District in the County of Mercer and Other Matters Related Thereto” to be held on September 27, 2016.
The special election will be held for residents to vote to approve a $35 million dollar bond referendum for facility improvements in all of the schools in the district and a more major overhaul at Hopewell Valley Central High School.
As part of the HVRSD’s presentations to the public regarding the proposed bond referendum, Superintendent Tom Smith explained the process, project costs and funding sources, should the referendum pass in September.
The school board voted unanimously, with one board member, Roy Dollard, absent. However, his support was evident at the prior school board meeting when Dollard expressed resounding support for the referendum saying, “When we got to the bottom line, the Arts and Wellness space at the high school, of 9 board members 3 took exception to it. However, as time has gone on, those objectors have decided to say ‘yes’ to the whole project approval because the District believes it would operate best with those additional components. I’ve been one of the primary objectors but even I have won myself over… I would like to add my full support of the whole thing. You’ve done a good job of explaining the need and minimizing the taxpayer impact.”
To this point, HVRSD board president, Lisa Wolff, stated, “Our unanimous vote may be misleading. As Roy Dollard noted, the board has undertaken a long, and occasionally contentious, process to reach consensus. I feel more confident that after such a thorough vetting, the end result is stronger from including input from our Board, Administration and members of the public.”
“The message that we came away with is clear. We need to maximize the value for the district while minimizing the impact on our taxpayers,” continued Wolff. “The money will be primarily used on structural necessities like new roofs and improved air quality. The new entrance will finally provide disability access and increase security, not only by restricting overall building access through locking vestibules, but also by allowing visitors to get to a conference room or nurses office without entering the rest of the high school.”
“I’d like to thank the members of the public that came out to give us input and I strongly encourage the community to get educated regarding the referendum and our budget,” she said. “In the next few months, Dr. Smith and a team will go out and present this information.”
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