League, NAACP to hold info session on school bond referendum
The League of Women Voters and the NAACP will hold an information session on the $187 million Montclair bond referendum for school upgrades and repairs. The session will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, via Zoom.
Montclair voters will be asked to decide on the bond referendum in the general election on Nov. 8. The upgrades and repairs would include projects at every Montclair school, the Montclair Community Pre-K, Woodman Field and the administrative building.
Members of the Montclair Board of Education will be available to explain the bond proposal and answer questions from the public.
The district intends to issue three tranches of bonds, issued within five years, in 2023, 2025 and 2027, schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds has said. But the school board reserves the right to change the timeline if needed. Each bond would be paid over a 20-year period, meaning the repayments will be complete in 2047.
A March presentation by Parette Somjen Architects about the referendum projects estimated that construction would conclude in December 2028.
Based on the average assessment of a home in Montclair of $628,952, the cost to the owner of such a home would be an estimated $323 more per year for the first tranche, Andrea L. Kahn, the school district’s bond attorney, has said. For the second tranche, the impact on the average homeowner would be an additional $283, and for the final tranche, the impact would be an additional $272.
The average tax impact over the course of the 24-year period of the three bond issues is expected to be $732, Ponds has said.
The state will be covering a little more than 31% of the $188 million cost for the school projects.
Parette Somjen won’t begin work on construction plans until after the proposal is approved for two reasons, Kahn said — the district does not yet have the funds to pay for them and if the proposal were to fail, the plans would go to waste. The district also plans to hire a construction manager to facilitate all the work.
“After the issue is passed, they'll be preparing final construction plans, and they'll also be proposing an implementation schedule so that they'll have a much better assessment as to how fast you're going to need the money because of how fast you can spend the money,” Kahn told the school board earlier this month.
Once the proposal is approved, the board will make final decisions about the timing of the bonds along with their maturity schedules, Kahn said. The board may also reallocate funds between projects.
To receive the Zoom link and submit questions, register at the League of Women voters website at lwvmontclairarea.org.