Montclair Board of Education to present on long-range facilities plan referendum
On Monday, March 28, the Montclair Board of Education will hold a special community meeting to present its plan for a referendum to support its long-range facilities plan.
Board members are working toward a capital improvement bond referendum at the end of the year, hoping Montclair voters will support work that would include $15.5 million for upgrades including heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades across the school district. A bond put before voters might ultimately include work beyond that as well, board members said at a meeting Feb. 2.
The presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the George Inness Annex of Montclair High School, at 141 Park St. There will be no executive session.
The board’s facilities and finance committee wants the bond to include all items that are considered in Phase 2 of the HVAC upgrades laid out in a master plan by Parette Somjen Architects, committee chair Eric Scherzer said at the Feb. 2 meeting. Phase 2 includes projects in nine of the district’s buildings.
The committee also asked schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds about educational advancements that could potentially be addressed through the bond issue, Scherzer said.
The board has also asked Parette Somjen Architects to evaluate all major structural issues not included in Phase 2 — areas that need to be addressed in the next two to three years and cannot be covered by routine maintenance.
Applications for the bond projects must be submitted to the state Department of Education by May 5 in order to place a referendum on the November ballot, but the board is not yet locked into November as an election date, members said in February.
Preparing a bond referendum usually takes about six months, and includes required steps such as an application to and review by the state Department of Education, and a formal notice to the county Board of Elections.
If the bond referendum were held in November, it would take place alongside an already scheduled regular election for three board seats. Otherwise, the district would have to hold a special election, at further expense.