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School Board Looks For More Than $79 Million In State Aid For Referendum

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School district business administrator John Calavano said the district did not receive funding for all the referendum-related grants for which it applied because the state could not fund all the applications it received.

With nearly $4 million guaranteed for the proposed $85 million school referendum eyed for September, the Board of Education Feb. 27 approved applications for more than $79.7 million in additional state aid for the projects.

The board also formally rescinded applications for $57.5 million in grant applications that were not awarded. Those projects were included in the new applications.

District business administrator John Calavano said the projects were not funded because the available money “ran out.” He said the grant applications had to be rescinded before the district could apply for the state aid.

“The state didn’t have sufficient funds to cover it all,” he said. “The state funded the first group, then there was a second group and a third group, and they couldn’t get to all of them.”

The latest applications are for debt service funding, as opposed to outright grants. Calavano said the difference between the two is that the debt service aid is not guaranteed, while the grants are.

“It depends on how they fund it,” he said of the debt service aid. “It could be 100 percent, or 90 percent or 80 percent.”

The projects and the amount of aid applied for are:

  • New Claremont Road School: $45,072,337
  • Sampson G. Smith School addition/renovations: $11,860,000
  • Elizabeth Avenue School classroom wing: $11,118,619
  • Elizabeth Avenue multi-purpose room/office wing: $7,028,292
  • Franklin Middle School capital upgrades: $1,537,500
  • MacAfee Road School capital upgrades: $763,894
  • Sampson G. Smith School capital upgrades: $704,240
  • Pine Grove Manor elevator: $562,500
  • Franklin Park School capital upgrades: $372,493
  • Conerly Road School capital upgrades: $314,250
  • Pine Grove Manor capital upgrades: $190,056
  • Hillcrest School capital upgrades: $189,006

Whatever money is awarded by the state will be put toward the referendum projects, thus lowering the amount that has to be paid for through taxes, Calavano said.

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