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State OKs $11.7 Million for Moorestown School Projects

The district had applied for funding to be used toward capital projects—including new roofs and HVAC—at all six schools.

The Christie administration approved $11.7 million in state aid to help fund capital projects at Moorestown School District.
The Christie administration approved $11.7 million in state aid to help fund capital projects at Moorestown School District.
Some of the details are still unclear, but Moorestown is in line to receive nearly $12 million in state aid to fund major capital projects at many of its schools.

Acting Superintendent Lynn Shugars said the district was notified Thursday that the state had approved $11.7 million for capital projects. However, exactly what the district will be allowed to use that money for is as yet unclear.

Shugars said the district will soon receive guidance from the Department of Education's Office of School Facilities, which "will tell us specifically what’s funded and what’s not."

Moorestown had submitted applications for all six schools totaling $40 million. However, the total project cost returned by the state was only $29.3 million, which suggests that certain aspects of the project were excised by the state.

"My understanding is that there was many more applications than there was funding available, and that they have gone back and revised," said Shugars. "Some things that we thought might be eligible may not be."

According to Shugars, the biggest chunk of the project is for roofs and new HVAC at several of the schools, as well as security and technology infrastructure.

The following is a breakdown of the project cost for each school:

  • South Valley Elementary School — $2,524,282
  • Upper Elementary School — $6,569,832
  • William Allen Middle School — $8,913,541
  • Roberts Elementary School — $3,122,100
  • Baker Elementary School — $3,445,913
  • Moorestown High School — $15,435,813
The district had estimated a 40 percent share would be provided by the state, and the $11.7 million grant meets that.

"It’s obviously a lot of money for Moorestown, which typically doesn’t get a lot of funding," said Shugars. "So we’re obviously very pleased, but we still don’t know the specifics yet."

She said the school board and administration will meet with Garrison Architects upon receiving the information from the Office of School Facilities, and from there decide on a course of action.

School districts have four opportunities next year to hold referendums asking voters to approve funding for capital projects: January, March, September and December. Shugars believes the earliest Moorestown would be prepared to hold a referendum is September, meaning construction likely wouldn't begin until 2015.

"We have 18 months from the time we get our letters (from the Office of School Facilities) to produce our local share, so we do have some time," she said.

According to information provided by Sen. Diane Allen's office, $46.7 million in state funding was approved to support $103 million in school construction projects across Burlington County. Statewide, the Christie administration approved $507.7 million in funds for 1,538 individual school construction projects in 331 school districts.

The grants are contingent on local approval of the remaining cost to school districts.
Jim December 06, 2013 at 02:22 PM
How about securing some funding for full-time K? Disappointing that's not the norm in a district such as ours with all the resources...
Donnerstag December 06, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Put some towards a needed tax cut in our school taxes!
Bob Gorman December 06, 2013 at 10:33 PM
How is it that all of the roofs need to be replaced at the same time? When were they last replaced? Does the administration have a long term capital plan that spreads out major improvements over a period of time?
Bella Pelosi December 07, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Donnerstag you want the Board to give money the state is authorizing for capital projects back to cut taxes? Then what no fixed roof and higher taxes next year anyway? Great idea.
Bella Pelosi December 07, 2013 at 09:03 PM
A good "guess"? Is reading comprehension a challenge for you along with math and spelling? The story clearly states the schools need $40 million worth of repairs and the state is paying for only $12 million of it. Let's leave the real work to the professionals.
Donnerstag December 07, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Sorry, didn't read it. It's better if we "redistribute the wealth" of this money in a tax cut first, then we should read the details. Correct Ms Pelosi? "We should pass this bill before we find out what's in the bill".
Dan December 07, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Donnerstag, You should really consider relocating if the ridiculous real estate taxes bother you so much. I am using the public schools; otherwise, I would never stay in this area.
Donnerstag December 08, 2013 at 12:12 AM
No Dan I love Moorestown!
armywife December 09, 2013 at 12:41 PM
How old is the UES?? I can't believe it really needs $6.5mill in repairs and improvements!
Bill December 09, 2013 at 12:55 PM
@armywife - 12 years old. Opened the fall of 1991.
armywife December 09, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I think you mean 2001
Bill December 09, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Duh, you're right. 2001. :)
Allyson Hang December 09, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I think this is wonderful news! For all the negative ppl on here complaining and scrutinizing the justification of the funds, you should stop acting like spoiled brats and be thankful for what we were given because it could've been nothing. Look at the Philadelphia school district: pay cuts, closing schools and struggling just to survive. Poor kids. I'm very grateful to the funding given to our district. My kids are blessed to be a part of such a great school district.
Hank December 09, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Yeah we should all grateful of getting a good tax cut from these monies. At least Kevin did a good job not raising our school taxes. Make him superintendent, repair some capital, and please give us a well deserved school tax cut!
Tom December 09, 2013 at 04:52 PM
@Hank who is to say the funding the state is giving us was paid by everyone? Sounds too much like redistribution to me.
Donnerstag December 09, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Tom that's funny! I'm glad you get it!
Townie December 09, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Did someone delete the part of the story detailing the end off school taxes? If not, the tax distribution thread here is pointless unless your looking at a huge re-assessment decrease next year or selling your house (the only way you get to keep a tax refund for money that'll be collected over the next few years). Now back to the news flash....there are 20 worst districts for bullying!!!! Who would have guessed?
Jim December 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM
The system is flawed, contractors inflate costs and administrators accept them so they can say "we stayed within budget". Can't wait to see what the mold remediation is going to run over at SV. Before you cue the "I support our teachers and schools" posts, i have three in the system but waste is waste... Boom!

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