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On March 11, Verona voted on a referendum to make much-needed repairs to its facilities and make it possible to use 21st-century technology in all classrooms. According to the certified vote count, there were 1,777 “yes” votes in the March 11 referendum and 1,067 “no” votes, a margin of 710 ballots. The turnout was 27.19%. The 2005 referendum, by contrast, passed by just nine votes.
The base cost of the referendum is $16.6 million–less than half the cost of Verona’s last referendum. But the Board of Education has further reduced that cost by securing two forms of state aid. They lower the total to $13.8 million, or $176.75 per year to the average home in Verona.
MyVeronaNJ.com has been writing for more than a year on referendum, from the preparation to the problems it seeks to address. We will now be following the referendum projects through to their completion.
Board Focuses On Implementing Referendum: The BOE welcomes community dialog and input on the implementation of the March 11 referendum, but the project is moving forward as voters intended.
Referendum: The Construction Paperwork Begins: There’s a mountain of documentation needed for the work and the state grants that will cut its cost.
Board Of Ed Approves Referendum: Spending for each category of the referendum. The largest component of the project, at $5,314,431, is general repairs to all six Verona schools.
Why We Need New School Technology: The technology infrastructure of Verona schools is 10 years old. When the Verona school computer network was built, technology was an add-on, and wireless was a novelty. Our network foundation is on the verge of crashing, and without the necessary upgrades our schools will stay in 2004.
Using Technology To Teach: Some teachers have figured out how to use the limited WiFi in Verona’s schools and our limited number of electronic devices to better reach students. The referendum could extend that to everyone.
One Referendum, Not Two: As BOE member Joe Bellino said later, there’s nothing in this referendum that isn’t absolutely necessary.
The State Grant: An explanation of the ROD grant, and how it reduces the cost of the referendum to Verona taxpayers.
5 Questions: Why are we doing this? Because we really, really need to.