This article was originally published in the November 2018 Princeton Echo.
Just a few months ago it was the $130 million question: Should voters approve a bond referendum to add another elementary school, expand and renovate the high school, and acquire a commercial office building on Thanet Circle for additional staff space?
Facing public opposition, the referendum was divided into two parts. Then it was reduced to just $27 million with a vote scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, to approve funding for security upgrades at all the schools, new HVAC systems, and — in the high school — four additional classrooms, a dining distribution center, more space for sports, and renovations to the guidance office.
Board president Patrick Sullivan told reporters that the board would then develop another referendum, to be placed on the ballot a year from now, that would address the other needs listed in the earlier proposed referendums.
Meanwhile, another item appears to be removed from the school board’s plate. A state judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Joel Schwartz and Corrine O’Hara asking that the district’s extension of the sending relationship with Cranbury be overthrown. The Schwartz-O’Hara couple contended that the board violated the Open Public Meetings Act because it had voted electronically, while “members of the public were neither made aware of how each board member voted nor what the final vote was.”
Schwartz and O’Hara have another legal action on file, an appeal with the state Commissioner of Education to repeal the sending agreement with Cranbury, which permits Cranbury to send its high school students to Princeton. Schwartz and O’Hara maintain, among other points, that better options exist for Cranbury students in neighboring school districts closer to Cranbury.