Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Overview & Project
Will new classrooms and renovated facilities improve student learning?
Why is the NBC Regional School District holding a bond referendum in 2018?
- Enrollment has increased in recent years and is projected to continue to increase in coming years, with as many as 149 new high school students joining the district. The increase in enrollment has led to overcrowding and inefficient use of the facilities. Increased class sizes directly impact classroom instruction and student achievement.
- Constructed in the 1960s, Northern Burlington County Regional High School has undergone some renovations and upgrades, and been well maintained over the years. However, similar to an aging home, the facilities are in need of major upgrades, such as a new roof , as well as electrical and HVAC upgrades that go beyond routine maintenance.
- Interest rates are still relatively low and construction costs are stable, making this a good time to hold a bond referendum election.
Additionally, the district recently had debt expire (paid off) and refinanced other debt, savings the school district money.
What projects are included in the proposed referendum?
- New construction to connect the East and West Buildings, creating a secure, closed campus. Students will no longer travel outside between classes during the school day.
- Construction and renovations to create 9 additional classrooms, including theater arts and choral classrooms – to enhance educational opportunities and alleviate overcrowding.
- Updated science and applied technology labs to help ensure NBC students are prepared for success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers, including bioengineering, forensics and meteorology.
- Upgrades to three greenhouses to maintain and improve the district’s award-winning Agriscience programs, which offer our students the opportunity to continue their education and pursue careers in farming, a key contributor to the economy in our region.
- Expanding and centrally locating the high school library, including multi-media technologies and resources for students and the community.
- Expanding the cafeteria to better accommodate all of the high school students. An expanded cafeteria also will give the district the option to schedule a single lunch period, which many high schools in South Jersey have found adds instructional and study time for students and staff, and improves overall school climate.
- Upgrades and maintenance of roofs, boilers, electric, and HVAC systems.
- Installing air conditioning throughout the East and West Buildings. Currently 60% of the classrooms are not air-conditioned.
Besides the new gymnasium and new auditorium that were eliminated from the scope of work for the March 2018 referendum, there were many other changes to the total project as presented in the “What’s Different” PowerPoint.
What are the benefits of a facilities expansion and renovations project?
When was the last time voters approved a Northern Burlington Regional Bond Referendum and what did it fund?
Is it possible to include the renovations and upgrades in the annual school budget, rather than going out for a special referendum?
- The costs will exceed the annual 2% budget cap.
- An approved referendum will spread out the cost of the upgrades and repairs over 30 years at a relatively low interest rate.
Equally important, the District will receive state aid only if the facilities renovations and repairs are funded through the referendum. State aid is not available if the projects are completed within the regular yearly operating budget. This is the most fiscally responsible way to fund the necessary renovations and upgrades.
Does the referendum amount cover the cost of any necessary furniture?
If approved, when will the renovations begin and when will they be completed?
Will any other renovations/improvements be necessary in the near future?
What is the outcome, if the referendum is not passed?
The Board has only planed for a successful referendum and not a failed one. Therefore we will not speculate on the future plans of the board. However, it is important to note that any repairs, renovations and new construction completed without a successful referendum would take place without state aid or the amortizing of the costs over 30 years
Impact on Students, Staff & Community
How many students attend the NBC Regional School District?
How many employees does the Northern Burlington County Regional District currently employ?
If the referendum is approved, how will the district ensure that educational programs and the safety of students and staff are maintained during construction?
Financial Information & Tax Impact
What is the total cost of renovations and upgrades?
What will the tax impact be on Northern Burlington County Regional homeowners, if the bond referendum is approved?
|Average Home Assessment||$391,063||$247,600||$315,602||$276,058|
|Estimated Annual Tax Impact||$184.58||$188.30||$162.90||$207.31|
|Estimated Monthly Tax Impact||$15.38||$15.69||$13.58||$17.28|
Why are school construction costs so much higher than residential or private business construction costs?
- First and foremost, labor rates for all construction workers are based on union rates (otherwise known as prevailing wage).
- The requirements for heating, ventilation, and cooling are more stringent for schools than housing.
- The type of construction utilized to conform to building codes has higher costs.
- The need for fire alarm and intercom systems add to higher construction costs on a square-foot basis.
- The use of fire-rated materials for walls and doors raises costs.
- Bidding laws require higher insurance costs; there also are bonding requirements.
How will the proposed referendum affect taxes for senior citizens?
What happens if the total cost of the projects is less than the amount approved in the March 13th referendum?
What if the actual costs of the projects exceed the amount approved in the March 13th referendum?
Referendum State Aid
Is the NBC Regional School District eligible for state aid for the referendum projects?
Will the referendum affect the amount of annual state aid given to the NBC Regional School District?
When will the community vote on this referendum?
When do voters have to be registered in order to vote on the referendum?
Are Vote by Mail ballots available?
Recently Asked Questions
What is the projected enrollment for the next 5-10 years?
The enrollment projections are up but just not as high as they were in 2015. We do not produce the enrollment projections. They are given to us from a demographer. And please remember projections are just that, “projections.” We traditionally gather enrollment projections every five years so we have enrollment projections through 2020. We anticipate 149 additional students. However, with the referendum in 2015 and in 2018 we were required to run a second set of numbers for the 2018 referendum. We do note that our current 7th grade has 430 students and our current senior class is 325.
When does the School Board project needing another addition to handle the increased enrollment?
Our projections do not reflect the need for another addition. This project will meet the projected enrollment demands.
If the High School is so overcrowded why does Northern participate in the school choice program?
We accept 51 students in our Agriscience Program grades 7 – 12. The Board set a ‘cap’ on enrollment in this choice program. This program generates approximately $475K in additional state aid for the district per year. With approximately 8 additional students in each grade level, there has been no negative financial impact on the budget. Northern’s Agriscience program is an attractive program. It is a point of pride and it serves as a powerful ‘revenue source’ for our schools.
Why does the entire school need to eat lunch at the same time?
The school does not have to eat lunch at the same time. With a larger cafeteria, we could schedule two lunches if desired. However, administrators and faculty have done much research on the benefits of a single lunch period. We have also visited other school districts currently implementing similar programs. All students and all faculty would have the same lunch period. This would significantly increase instructional time in the master schedule and strengthen our learning opportunities in the high school. Here is a quick video produced by Lenape Regional on their “Lunch and Learn” program. https://youtu.be/BchPhbE1p6c With the larger cafeteria, Northern could adapt the opportunity to meet the needs of our students.
How much are taxes going up in addition to the costs of the referendum?
The Fy’19 budget is not completed and we have no projections on state aid for FY’19. It’s too early to tell without all the figures. I do know we are not anticipating any additional personnel in the FY’19 budget and this is a good sign.
Does state aid automatically disappear if there are 2 failed attempts?
No. We would be able to go back out for a third referendum. However, the percentage of state aid we receive could be impacted depending on the state budget. If less money is allocated for school construction and school aid, then our state aid percentage could go down in the next referendum while the construction cost continue to go up. We also have some low interest rates so this is a good time. At this time we have our state aid commitment from the department of education for the March 2018 referendum.
In the project budget what are "casework" costs and why are they almost the same as 2015?
This is classroom equipment, cabinets and etc. The cost is not that different from the 2015 referendum because the areas requiring casework – classroom renovations and new classrooms are basically the same.
What are Ineligible Excess Costs and why are they higher than in 2015?
This is connected to the Enrollment projections. When the referendum was defeated in 2015 we had to go back out and collect new enrollment data for the 2018 referendum. Unfortunately, these enrollment projections showed a decline in unhoused students which in turn increased the ineligible excess cost projections.
Why is Site Work almost the same for a project that is 1/2 the size?
The 2015 project included the new gym and the new auditorium. The required site work for those projects was included in those costs not with the site work projections. Now that these two projects, the gym and auditorium, are eliminated from the 2018 referendum, all site work stands on its own. We know the costs of this site work will continue to increase so it’s good we got some of it done last year.
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