$85 Million ‘Landmark’ School District Referendum Passes

Dec 9 referendum09

Supporters of the $85 million school referendum celebrate after learning the referendum had passed.

An $85 million referendum that will result in a new elementary school and a realigned district was approved Dec. 9.

The final tally was 1,953 “yes” votes to 1,463 “no” votes. Of the 16 voting districts established for special school elections, “no” votes outnumbered “yes” votes in only three: 2A and 2b, which includes several adult communities, and 6, which is in the Kingston area.

Money from the referendum will be used to build a new elementary school on Claremont Road, renovate and refurbish the district’s other elementary schools, and realign the district into eventually seven K-5 schools, two 6-8 middle schools and the current 9-12 high school.

District officials have said that the referendum will increase the school portion property tax $166 a year on the average residential assessment of $306,058.

“This is a defining moment for our Franklin Township school district and our students,” Board of Education vice president Eva Nagy said. She was joined in the Township Council chamber for the vote tally by board members Betty Whalen, Nancy LaCorte, Christine Danielsen and Ed Potosnak, district officials, volunteers and local and state politicians.

Referring to the projected increase of 700 students in the district over the next five years, Nagy said, “with the 700 kids coming in, it has a major impact on our buildings, our academics and just our future and I’m very thankful to our voters for seeing that.”

Nicolas DiMeglio, head of a volunteer committee advocating for the referendum’s passage, said he was “excited” by the outcome.

“It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it,” he said.

Interim schools Superintendent Lee Seitz said Dec. 9 was “a landmark day for Franklin Township schools.”

‘With the referendum being approved, we can reconfigure our schools, prevent overcrowding and really address the needs of the students who are here and coming in the future,” he said.

Seitz said the effects of the referendum will be felt for decades.

Passing the referendum is just the first step, Seitz said.

“We’ll set up appointments with the architects, we’ll submit the necessary forms to the state and we’ll get rolling,” he said. “Now you have to get into the detailed drawings, you have to start preparing bids; there’s a lot of work to do. Realisticlally, there won’t be a shovel in the ground until at least the summer.”

In total, 3,476 voters went to the polls, about 8.4 percent of the township’s 41,191 registered voters.


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