Board of Education approves facilities referendum

July 24, 2017

The Newton Board of Education approved the following resolution at its public meeting on July 25, 2017:

WHEREAS, the Board of Education of the Town of Newton School District in the County of Sussex, New Jersey (the “Board”), in connection with its planned decommission of  the Halsted Middle School (as approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”)), seeks to submit a school facilities project to the School District voters consisting of the renovation and expansion of the Merriam Avenue School and the reconfiguration of such school into a grades pK-8 school, at an aggregate cost not exceeding $18,950,001 (the “Project”); and

WHEREAS, the Board intends to finance the Project cost through its issuance of not exceeding $18,693,675 in long-term school bonds and a $256,326 cash contribution from the School District Capital Reserve Fund; and

WHEREAS, NJDOE has approved the decommission of the Halsted Middle School, and has awarded an aggregated 16.3355% in State Aid to the School District for the Project, representing 53.7532% of the $5,758,872 in State aid-eligible project costs, as detailed in the Project Preliminary Eligible Cost Letter dated June 28, 2017 the “State Aid Letter”) issued to the Board by NJDOE under the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, P.L. 2000, c. 72, as amended (the “State Aid Act”), which State Aid the State will provide to the School District via annual “State Debt Service Aid” in an amount equal to 16.3355% of the School District’s annual Project bond debt service (both principal and interest); and

WHEREAS, in order to proceed further with the Project, the Board now seeks to present the Project to the School District voters for their consideration via a special ballot question at a special School District election to be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (the “Election”), and to authorize certain actions required to be taken in connection with the conduct of the Election and the undertaking of the Project;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Education of the Town of Newton School District in the County of Sussex, New Jersey (not less than a majority of the full membership of the Board concurring) as follows:


1. A special ballot question relating to the Project shall be presented to the School District voters as a separate question at a special School Election to be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (the “Election”).  The polling hours for the Election shall be from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


2. The special ballot question shall be in the form of the following proposal (the "Proposal") and Explanatory Statement (the “Explanatory Statement”):

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT

The Board of Education of the Town of Newton School District, in Sussex County, New Jersey, is seeking voter approval to undertake a Merriam Avenue School renovation and expansion project entailing the construction of various new education instruction spaces, existing facilities renovations and site improvements.  Such project is necessary in connection with the planned closure of the Halsted Middle School (as approved by the New Jersey Department of Education), and the related reconfiguration of the Merriam Avenue School into a grades pK-8 school.

TOTAL PROJECT COST AND FUNDING METHOD
The total cost of the project is not exceeding $18,950,001.  The Board is proposing to fund the project with a cash appropriation of $256,326 currently on deposit in the Capital Reserve Fund and an $18,693,675 School District school bonds issuance.

AWARDED STATE AID FOR PROJECT
The State of New Jersey has formally awarded 16.3355% annual debt service aid on the total project debt.
The Board will receive such annual State debt service aid in the amount of 16.3355% of the annual debt service (principal and interest) on the $18,693,675 school bonds that the Board will issue to fund a portion of the project cost.  Such State aid will reduce the taxpayers’ share of the annual project debt service to 83.6645%.
Such State debt service aid will only be available if the voters approve the project.

PROPOSAL
The Board of Education of the Town of Newton School District in the County of Sussex, New Jersey is authorized to undertake a Merriam Avenue School renovation and expansion project entailing the construction of various new education instruction spaces, existing facilities renovations and site improvements.  The Board is authorized to expend not exceeding $18,950,001 on such project, and to fund such expenditure with a cash appropriation of $256,326 currently on deposit in the Capital Reserve Fund and an $18,693,675 School District school bonds issuance.  The State has determined that the “final eligible costs” of the project are $5,758,872, and the State has agreed to provide annual debt service aid to the School District in the amount of 53.7532% of the annual bond debt service allocable to such final eligible costs.  As a result, the net annual State debt service aid, measured as a percentage of total bond annual debt service, is 16.3355%.  The projected costs of each of the project components may be transferred among such components.  This school facilities project includes $1,897,181 for school facility construction elements in addition to the facilities efficiency standards developed by the Commissioner of Education, or that are not otherwise eligible for State support pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7G-5(g).


3. The Board hereby approves and adopts the Proposal and the Explanatory Statement and, subject to the approval of the legal voters of the School District, hereby determines to carry out the Proposal.  The Board Secretary is hereby authorized and directed to revise the information in the Proposal and Explanatory Statement, as and if necessary or desirable, in consultation with Bond Counsel, prior to the submission of the Proposal to the Sussex County Clerk for processing.


4. The Board Secretary is hereby authorized and directed, in conjunction with Bond Counsel, to deliver a certified copy of this resolution and such other information as shall be necessary to comply with applicable provisions of the Education Law and Election Law, to the Sussex County Superintendent of Schools, Sussex County Clerk, Sussex County Board of Elections, and Clerk of the School District’s constituent municipality (Town of Newton), and to request such persons to undertake their respective functions under the Education Law and the Election Law, as applicable, in connection with the placement of the Proposal on the Election ballot.


5. The Board hereby acknowledges and confirms that, in accordance with the requirements of Sections 24-16 and 24-17 of the Education Law, the Supplemental Debt Statement will have been prepared as of July 25, 2017 (the effective date of this resolution) by the Chief Financial Officer of the School District’s constituent municipality (Town of Newton), giving effect as applicable to a proposed total authorization of debt of the School District in the maximum amount of $18,693,675, and that such Supplemental Debt Statement will have been filed in the office of the Clerk of the School District constituent municipality, and in the office of the Board Secretary prior to the effective date of this resolution.  The Board hereby directs the Board Secretary to cause such Supplemental Debt Statement to be filed in the office of the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs prior to the date of the Election.

 

6. The Board hereby (a) accepts NJDOE’s determination of Preliminary Eligible Costs for the Project as set forth in the State Aid Letter (which Preliminary Eligible Costs, upon acceptance by the Board, shall become Final Eligible Costs under the State Aid Act); (b) elects to receive State Aid for the Project via annual State Debt Service Aid; (c) determines to construct the Project; (d) delegates the supervision of the Project to the Business Administrator; and (e) agrees to locally fund any excess Project costs.


7. The School Administration and such other officers, professionals and agents of the Board as are necessary, including the Bond Counsel and the Architect for the Project, are each hereby authorized and directed to perform such acts, execute such documents and do such things as are necessary and proper for the submission of the Proposal and  Explanatory Statement to the voters of the School District at the Election, including preparation of all required applications for receipt of any applicable State aid under the State Aid Act and the submission of same, as applicable, to the appropriate State agencies.


8. This resolution shall take effect on and be considered adopted as of July 25, 2017, upon receipt of the required Supplemental Debt Statement referred to in Section 5 hereof.