Thank you to all Wall Township residents who shared their votes in the bond referendum of Tuesday, December 13, 2022. Election reporting can be viewed on the Monmouth County Clerk’s website. As it states, mail-in ballots that are postmarked by December 13 and received by December 19 will be counted when the voter is verified. The final tally will not be known until at least that date. Additionally, all results must be certified by Monmouth County election officials, and we expect that to happen before the end of December.
One Vision, Our Future
Simultaneous renovations for building needs and program support would continue to build a solid foundation for the future in Wall Township Public Schools.
What is a bond referendum?
A referendum is a vote, and a bond referendum asks voters to approve funding through the sale of bonds. These bonds can provide the school district with up-front funding to make long-lasting improvements similar to the way a homeowner might use a loan to renovate a kitchen. Property taxes are used to buy back those bonds with interest.
If voters approve on Tuesday, December 13, Wall Township Public Schools would get a special kind of state aid that is only available through a bond referendum.
The primary reason for holding a bond referendum now is that the district has needs now. Roofs need repair and/or replacement. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are near or beyond their expected lifespans. Old electrical systems struggle to keep up with today’s demands. Many restrooms are original to the construction date and don’t meet accessibility guidelines. Our high school’s athletic facilities were designed for a limited number of sports teams and our programs have grown significantly.
Strategically, the WTPS Board of Education packaged certain needs – the ones that are eligible for state aid – into a bond proposal. This state aid is valuable, covering about $20 million of the costs, but it only comes with a voter-approved bond referendum. Without it, 100% of the costs of these must-do items would come from the district’s regular budget.
Another factor in the timing is debt pay-off.
Wall is finishing payments on the improvements that voters authorized in 1998. Renewing the current level of debt payments for 25 years would continue the cycle of repairing, replacing, and renovating that keeps Wall’s schools maintained and Wall’s tax rate steady.
The Board’s vision pairs timely debt payoff and the smart use of state aid for one ballot question that would bring $53 million in improvements with no increase to the tax rate. A second ballot question would include additional improvements - including athletics - and result in a slight tax increase.
What research and decisions brought WTPS to this point?
The WTPS Board of Education worked with district staff and outside professionals in 2019 to review all district facilities inside and out. The process identified $236 million in potential projects throughout all seven schools. Its vision of “no tax increase” called for trimming that list. And yet, Board members knew that students and the community would benefit from additional important projects.
That’s why Wall Township voters will see two questions on the ballot on Tuesday, December 13.
A primary proposal requesting $53 million to complete repairs and renovations that are necessary to keep schools maintained and functioning, with no increase to the current tax rate.
A second proposal would take care of additional building needs and improve our high school's athletic facilities. For a home with the average assessment in Wall Township, $13.5 million in improvements would cost about $5 a month.
The NJ Department of Education reviewed the district’s plan and determined that Question 1 projects were eligible for $20 million in the kind of special aid that is only available to districts where voters approved the use of bond funding. Question 2 projects are eligible for about $2 million in aid.
This website is one way the Board will inform and educate the citizens of Wall Township about the Dec. 13 bond referendum. Approval by voters would start the multi-year timeline for repairs and renovations, with completion in late 2025 or summer 2026.
This referendum is a community-wide, community-focused proposal that balances necessary facility repairs/upgrades and instructional program needs with the financial impact on taxpayers. It also recognizes that school quality and community pride go hand in hand.