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
"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.