$363 million Cherry Hill public school bond approved


courtesy of https://www.inquirer.com

Cherry Hill bond voting held at Cherry Hill High School East

Last Thursday, a $363 million bond was passed by Cherry Hill voters, marking the first capital investment in the district’s public schools in more than 20 years. A total of 12,945 votes were cast: 4,131 of those in person and 8,841 by mail. There has been substantial opposition to the bond being passed among the residents of Cherry Hill. While many are quite dissatisfied with the effects of the tax implications, others are hopeful about the potential benefits the bond will have on the community. 

As reported by The Patch, Cherry Hill School Superintendent Joseph Meloche believes the $363 million bond referendum is a once-in-a-generation chance to make greatly needed adjustments to every school in the Cherry Hill district. 

The bond is the largest school bond referendum in New Jersey and has many large-scale plans in store. Every school in the district is expected to be impacted. It calls for alterations and expansions, multipurpose spaces, upgrades to safety and security, energy-efficient lighting, and handicapped-accessible classrooms. 

According to The Patch, Meloche said that foundational pieces of the schools’ infrastructures will be worked on such as doors, HVAC systems, security, and electrical systems. These changes will also include renovations on athletic facilities, roofs, entryways, and other vital systems. 

“The bond really focuses on making sure that our buildings are usable, are safe, and secure,” Meloche said.

As reported in the NJ Pen, the Cherry Hill Board of Education President Ben Ovadia thinks that this referendum is different from those turned down in the past as both the district and the school board led the community to focus on the necessity of passing this bond. 

According to a NJ Pen interview with Ovadia, the bond is one of the biggest projects that has ever happened in Cherry Hill.

“You’re talking about a great tomorrow for each building that’s educating students,” Ovadia said. “It is overdue, but this is a great time to do it.”

The bond describes capital needs for the district and is expected to be augmented by an anticipated $113 million in state funds. 

The $363,911,100 principal amount of the bond will be repaid over 20 years at a borrowing rate of 4%. This significant investment will result in higher property taxes for Cherry Hill residents.

Although there will be a noticeable tax influx, many residents believe it will be worth it as the bond will benefit the education and safety of students in the community. 

“The benefit to the next generations of students will be immeasurable,” Meloche said according to the NJ Pen.

The project is anticipated to take five years to complete and the district hopes to start construction in the summer of 2023.