By JOHN T. WARD
Voters in Little Silver, Red Bank and Shrewsbury will decide a referendum on $17.3 million worth of capital improvements to Red Bank Regional High School Tuesday.
The second question on the referendum, regarding stadium improvements, can only pass if voters approve the first question, which concerns a new roof and classrooms. Below, the projected tax impacts by sending town if the referendum passes. (Red Bank Regional information. Click to enlarge.)
The unusual December 11 vote follows a four-month roadshow in which RBR administrators and board of education members sought to drive home a point: if the plan fails, programs will be cut and taxes will climb even faster.
That’s because the plan will enable the Little Silver school to build 1o new classrooms. And that in turn will allow for the continued enrollment of non-district students, who pony up millions of dollars a year to attend RBR’s highly regarded academies in visual arts, information technology, finance, engineering and early childhood education, officials said.
Because of a space squeeze driven by rising in-district enrollment, income from the academies has dropped from $4 million to $2.8 million in four years, a difference that local taxpayers have had to make up.
The tax impact of passage is shown by town in the graphic above right. The impact softens after 2023 with the expiration of existing debt, officials said.
As previously reported by redbankgreen, the referendum is split into two parts:
• Question 1 is on the new roof, with an estimated cost to taxpayers, after anticipated state aid, of $4 million; renovation of existing facilities ($4.6 million); and addition of 10 classrooms ($7.1 million); for a total $15.7 million.
• Question 2 covers a turf field ($1.6 million); restrooms and concession stands ($730,000) for a total $2.3 million.
The second question can only pass if the first one does. The request for the stadium improvements is “the single most requested item the BOE receives from the community,” according to an information page set up by the board.
redbankgreen‘s earlier coverage of the referendum can be found here.
Polls are open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Voters cast ballots at their regular polling stations.