8.57% Turnout for Middletown School Borrow and Spend Referendum

4,109 of 47,906 registered voters in Middletown Township went to the polls yesterday to vote on a $32.2 million spending measure for repairs to the township’s schools.  The referendum passed 2,951 to 1,158 with 43,797 abstentions.   Mail-in and provisional ballots are not included in these unofficial figures provided by Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French’s office.

The Middletown Board of Education is now authorized to borrow $19.3  million for school maintenance and repairs.  $12.9 million for the project is expected to come from 20 Regular Operating District (ROD) grants from the New Jersey Department of Education.

In an OpEd posted on Middletown Patch, School Board Member Vinnie Brand made the case for the referendum, arguing that the grants are a rare opportunity which give the board an opportunity to make the “critical need” repairs for 60% of cost while passing 40% off to statewide taxpayers.  Brand noted that interest rates are low and that labor rates are “more reasonable.”

Middletown resident Chris Fotache countered Brand’s argument in an OpEd on MMM submitted yesterday as the polls opened.  Fotache argued that the Board of Ed did not publicize the referendum in order to assure a low voter turnout that would favor the referendum.  He alleged fiscal mismanagement and duplicate spending on repairs and planning fees.


Posted: March 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Elections, Middletown | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “8.57% Turnout for Middletown School Borrow and Spend Referendum”

  1. Bob English said at 8:09 am on March 12th, 2014:

    It’s to bad there was such a low turnout however there were articles on the referendum in The Independent, Middletown Patch, MMM and the APP. In addition registered voters received a sample ballot in the mail a few days before the referendum.

  2. It’s too bad said at 9:27 am on March 12th, 2014:

    I think what can really be called “too bad” is that this is *probably* (though I can’t be sure) useful and thoughtful investment in providing the infrastructure needed for education. I’d suspect that most sane folks don’t really have a problem with paying some small amount of taxes now as an investment in education later. However, I also suspect that most sane folks recognize that so much money is mismanaged, misplaced and misspent by various levels of government that it’s impossible for the people to know if the elected parties are making an honest and good investment or wasting money so that they can have their own names on a plaque in the lobby, or in a guy like Frank Lautenberg’s case, his name all over a train station in the middle of a swamp.

  3. Peter Carroll said at 10:04 am on March 12th, 2014:

    As a resident of Middlesex Borough, I’m not looking forward to paying for repairs on a school that isn’t in my town. Nor would I want someone from Middletown paying for a school in my town. Just wondering when Abbott Districts were introduced in Monmouth? :-/

  4. naming a few said at 10:22 am on March 12th, 2014:

    Peter, AFAIK at least the following districts in Mon County are/were Abbott districts:
    Asbury Park
    Long Branch

    As Tom DeSeno might rightly point out, each of these “poor” (financially) towns with comparatively low quality levels of education outcomes sits next to a rather wealthy town/area with comparatively great schools, ie, in the same order:
    Neptune –> Wall
    Asbury Park –> Deal/Lake Como
    Long Branch –> Shore Regional
    Keansburg –> Middletown

  5. Bob English said at 9:04 am on March 13th, 2014:

    As an fyi, Middletown is scheduled to receive over $3 million less in state school aid in 14-15 than it received in 2010. Just one of numerous districts in MC that are in the same position.