WALL TOWNSHIP — The planned Dec. 14 school bond referendum was addressed by Wall BOE vice president Adam Nasr Tuesday night with a promise that details on the ballot questions will be issued to the public sometime in October.
“We haven’t been able to do so up until now in specific detail for a reason. And I know there are many people in the community that are chomping at the bit to find out what we’re actually going to include in the projects. For us, it’s important to remember that a referendum is not a vote on the projects per se for us. The vote is for allowing us as a district to take on debt that debt or renew debt that we have currently out there that is expiring,” said Mr. Nasr.
Mr. Nasr explained that the reason so little information has been shared regarding what the Referendum entails is because the district awaits a response from The New Jersey Department of Education on their request for a bond, as large projects that are funded through a voter referendum have 40 percent of the cost recouped through the state’s Debt Service Aid [DSA] program.
“We have certain requirements through the bonding process that requires us to share information in its final form. In order to do that, we need our approvals from the state back so that we know what type of offsetting funds we’re gonna get. So right now, we don’t have the final amounts. We are still waiting for them from the state,” said Mr. Nasir.
Mr. Nasr also brought up a recent contract the BOE signed at their Aug. 23 meeting with the Cherry Hill-based PR firm Laura Bishop.
“I’d like to note that, um, the, the contract was a not to exceed number. We had to give ourselves a budget for our public relations. We set that number at $50,000. That doesn’t mean we’re going go that high, but it is fair to say that with a lot of the comments that are out there in public, this is something that we felt was of value to the community, and getting accurate information out there,” said Mr. Nasir.
The BOE has discussed the Referendum for over a year, indicating that it would be around $40 million. They previously tried to sign a contract with Laura Bishop in Dec. 2021 when they passed a resolution to award a contract to Laura Bishop Communications “for communications services” in an amount not to exceed $25,000 at the rate of $125 per hour.
Laura Bishop indicated to the Coast Star at that time that the district was solely interested in assistance with a referendum. However, WTPS and Laura Bishop never signed the contract.
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