New Junior High School Starts Construction This Year
Mayor Daniel J. Reiman and Superintendent Rosa Diaz have announced that the Carteret School District’s $37 million building
referendum has passed, after voters decided in favor of the proposed question by a 3-1 margin (74% – 26%).
“Carteret has voted once again to move our Town into the future with vast improvements to our schools,” said Mayor Dan Reiman.
“Consistent with projects Borough-wide like our upcoming Performing Arts Center, Ferry Terminal, and beautiful Waterfront, the new Junior High School will increase property values and continue making Carteret a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
Mayor Reiman, along with the School Superintendent Rosa Diaz, co-chaired a working group on the school construction
“Over the past few years, we’ve worked together on shared services, cooperative purchasing and recently used shared services
to rehabilitate the track and field at Walter J Overholdt Stadium, providing for a new High School field and public park with amenities,” continued Mayor Reiman. “This Referendum would not have passed or even be proposed without the hard work
of Mayor Reiman,” said Carteret Board of Education President Marty Murray. “Due to ethics laws, the School Board and School
Administration were not permitted to be active proponents of the referendum, but the improvements are clearly needed and
overdue, so we thank Mayor Reiman and the Council for their support and help in getting this Referendum passed.”
“We’ve been working very hard to make many improvements to the District and the approved Referendum funds will allow us to
continue that progress,” said Superintendent Diaz. “Our district’s goals are instruction – we believe that all our kids deserve a high-quality education and rigorous curriculum; student health and wellness –we want to provide a culture that’s positive and supportive; high quality facilities that are conducive to learning; and security to keep our children and staff safe. The referendum represents the district’s best effort to balance the needs of students with that of our taxpayers. Current historically low interest rates, along with the fact that the new Junior High School will be built on existing board property, will result in the lowest possible cost.”
In addition to the new 600-student, 3-story 30,000 square foot Junior High School featuring state-of theart classrooms and STEM labs, media spaces, a cafeteria, band and music rooms, gym, and think tank, money will also be allocated for new lighting and sound at Carteret High School’s Auditorium. In addition, the fire exits and stairwells at the High School will also be made accessible and safer. At Carteret Middle School, the stairwells will be improved and a new heating and air conditioning system will be installed. Nathan Hale Elementary School and Minue School will receive fire exit renovations, with
Minue also receiving HVAC renovations.
“Now that the Referendum is approved, qualified bidders will be able to bid on the project in an open process and bids
will be awarded. Then construction will start as early as late Summer 2020 and the new building and improvements will be
ready approximately three years from September,” said project architect Lloyd Rosenberg. Gary Higgins, CPA for the Board of Education, explained that now is the best time financially for construction of the new Carteret Junior High School.
“We have two things going for us right now that make this the best time to build in the district,” said Higgins. “A prior bond
issue expired and the current debt service component of the project dropped by approximately $1.5 million, which freed up
$790,000 of bond funds annually. In addition, interest rates are at historically low rates. At the current time, we are figuring
about 3.5% at current interest rates. A local district just received a 1.9% interest bond. Money is cheap right now, so it’s the best
time to do construction.”
The project is eligible for partial state aid on costs totaling $12,586,000. On that amount, the district will receive about
$7.4 million, which could only have been ascertained through a referendum and not the yearly budget. Based on current state
aid figures, the cost for the average Carteret homeowner will be less than $7 per month, depending on the amount of aid the
state awards Carteret. 51% of the Carteret tax base is collected through residential properties while the remaining 49% is paid
by industrial and commercial properties.
For more information on the approved Referendum and imminent improvements to the District’s schools, visit the school
district’s website at: CarteretSchools.org.