By TALIA WIENER
A $ 60 million bond plan to upgrade facilities at Montclair Public School will reach its next stage on Thursday, when the body responsible for formally setting the amount to be raised meets.
August 16, Montclair school board approved $ 57 million bail resolution in the modernization of buildings – $ 60 million, taking into account the costs associated with the issuance of the bond. The upgrades were identified this spring in a long-term development plan. They include work on buildings in the district, including on the aging and sometimes absent ventilation systems that played a key role in the drama over the return of students and staff to schools last year, and which continues to continue to grow. ‘be a concern for some parents and staff.
This started the process of moving forward, sending the matter to the Montclair School Board estimate to fix and formally determine the costs of the projects. After that, the city council would pass a bond ordinance.
The school board resolution was a reversal for the board members. It came weeks after board members said there wouldn’t be enough time to tie up a small list of installations work, with an estimated price tag of $ 17 million, before voters be urged to consider changing the form of Montclair School District – and with that, the bonding process.
Montclair currently has what’s called a Type I school district – where the mayor appoints school board members, and the school board’s estimate sets the tax rate and budget. The BoSE, made up of members of the school board, the board and the CEO, also approves funding for capital improvements before sending it to the board.
In November, voters will decide if Montclair should immediately become a Type II district. This would establish an elected school board, dissolve the school board estimate, and put bonds for capital projects before voters by referendum.
But for now, the council remains responsible for carrying out its duties despite the upcoming elections that could eliminate the BoSE, Mayor Sean Spiller said at the city council meeting on September 21.
“The second these votes are counted, if it remains as is, we have done our due diligence and [the BoSE] would continue, ”Spiller said. “If that changes, it will change immediately. But until then we have a load and we are doing our job. “
If the BoSE votes on Thursday to send the draft to the board, the board would have a little over a month to authorize a bond ordinance before the referendum.
At the board meeting, members indicated that they were still waiting for a full breakdown of projects and associated costs. Council members asked the district “what do you need and how can we get it to you,” Deputy Mayor and BoSE Chairman Bill Hurlock said at the meeting.
But that information will come from the school board’s finance and facilities committee and Superintendent Jonathan Ponds ahead of Thursday’s BoSE meeting, Board of Education vice-chair Priscilla Church told the Montclair local.
According to the district’s website, the BoSE meeting will feature a presentation on long-term projects. On Tuesday, an agenda was to come, he said.
New BoSE member
Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings was elected to the BoSE at Tuesday night’s council meeting, replacing Second Ward Councilor Robin Schlager, who is stepping down. Third Ward Councilor Lori Price Abrams also sits on the Board of Directors.
“I hope we will have the opportunity to meet soon to review the documents to present so that we can assess what is presented to us and take action if we deem it appropriate,” Price Abrams told Montclair Local. September 22.
Yacobellis had recommended himself to fill the vacant BoSE position at Tuesday’s meeting. As someone who hasn’t gone to Montclair schools or doesn’t have kids in the neighborhood, Yacobellis said, outside perspectives like his are “important and can add value.”
With Hurlock representing the first ward and Price Abrams representing the third ward, selecting Cummings fourth ward councilor for the vacant position would leave Montclair’s second ward without direct representation, Yacobellis said. As general councilor, he would be able to represent the second and fourth quarters, he argued.
Cummings, at the meeting, said he believes “what’s most important is that we have someone who understands our school system.”
He served on the Education Council from 2013 to 2016.
“We have to make sure that as we move forward with the business at hand, which can be short-lived, we can get there,” Cummings said.
Yacobellis abstained from voting for Cummings on the BoSE.
BoSE actions are submitted to the board before they go into effect, Spiller noted at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Each of us has the opportunity to vote on what the school board estimate takes out of our work and brings to us,” Spiller said.