By Chris Dailey
The Wall Township School District has put forth a bond referendum that will be voted on Tues., Dec. 13.
“A referendum is a vote, and a bond referendum asks voters to approve funding through the sale of bonds. These bonds can provide the school district with up-front funding to make long-lasting improvements,” as described by Superintendent Dr. Tracy Handerhan, and Mr. Ralph Addonizio, President of the Board of Education, in a letter sent on the district’s website. “Property taxes are used to buy back those bonds, with interest.”
The referendum will potentially provide funding for new projects around Wall High School such as air conditioning and a new track as, currently, the track and field team can’t host home meets due to the condition of the track.
Dr. Handerhan has a background in track, having previously coached the sport at other schools, and is working hard to improve the conditions of the facility for the team as well as other sports teams alike who use it for workouts.
“This would be great and, hopefully, bring more people to the track team,” said junior captain Matt Remishofski. “Our track program is in shambles, not too many people run track and the current condition of the track is a big reason as to why. If we get a new track, it would be good not only for the school, but the whole community.”
Apart from the air conditioning and track, the referendum will be used for many other capital projects around the school system to help keep it up-to-date. Those projects include updates to classrooms and bathrooms as well as the High School’s auditorium and roofing.
The referendum is being pursued now because the previous one, which was established in 1998, is nearly paid off.
“Another factor in the timing is debt pay-off,” Dr. Handerhan and Mr. Addonizo said in the letter. “Wall is finishing payments on the improvements that voters authorized in 1998. Renewing the current level of debt payments would continue the cycle of repairing, replacing, and renovating that keeps Wall’s schools maintained and Wall’s tax rate steady.”
If approved by the voters, the referendum’s projects will be completed by late 2025 or the summer of ‘26.
The referendum will have two questions. The first, which is targeted towards the replacement of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and general improvements around the school, will have no tax increase and the second, mainly surrounding the sports facilities at the High School as well as asphalt upgrades at Allenwood School and West Belmar School, and window replacements at Wall Intermediate School.
All of this meaning the primary proposal, which will help complete repairs and renovations, will have no impact on an increase to taxes while the second proposal, which includes updates to athletic facilities and other building issues, will have an increase to the current taxes by around $5 a month.
“Current students can relate to the need to invest in facilities as they use them every day,” Dr. Handerhan wrote in an email response. “Some students may be interested in improving the facilities for younger siblings. Some students may look to return to Wall Twp. to raise their own families (time flies!). Some may want to support their alma mater.”
Some members of the senior class, who have already turned 18, are eligible to vote and outspoken about the topic.
“The referendum will be good for the town and I’ll be voting on Dec. 13,” said Wall senior Ally Cartinella. “I encouraged all my friends who are 18 to go out and vote because every vote matters.”
The referendum is currently being publicized by the board and district. Students and parents alike can read more about the referendum at wallpublicschools.org/vision.