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Advisory Team Meets for Second Time as Referendum Looms

The school district enlisted the help of its team to get the word out about the March 13 referendum.

Two prominent players in the last November’s election had advice for how the can ensure more registered voters come out to vote in the March 13 referendum when the Superintendent’s convened on Thursday night, Feb. 23 at the Reeds Road School auditorium.

Newly Township Councilman Brian Tyrrell and the chairman of the Galloway Democratic Club, Michael Suleiman, each gave their opinions when it came to taking the message to the voters.

“It’s on you to win,” Suleiman said. “If you don’t win, it’s your fault. You have to go out to the people. If you’re relying on the website and the tax calculator, you’re not going to win.”

“It has to be a targeted get out the vote,” Tyrrell added. “It’s easier to convince someone who already believes it’s important to go out and vote. In the two to three weeks leading up to the election, you need to put together a strong phone effort. Bring people together, write out a script for everyone to say, keep it short and call as many people as you can.”

Tyrrell suggested looking up a record of registered voters who have voted in past elections and making sure they know when and where to vote.

Tyrrell ran for council for the first in 2011, as a Republican, finishing third in the voting. Suleiman’s efforts helped incumbent Democrat Jim Gorman get re-elected to council. Gorman finished second in voting.

The March 13 referendum deals with roof replacement at , and elementary schools, fire alarm replacement for Smithville, Roland Rogers and , and drainage system and parking lot improvements for Arthur Rann.

Residents with a home assessed at $100,000 would have seen a raise in taxes of $14.42 as a result of the $5.6 million project, and residents with a home assessed at $200,000 would have seen a raise in taxes of $28.84.

Tax ramifications on residents’ homes can now be calculated on the district’s website, via the Tax Impact Calculator, a new tool implemented following the suggestion at the previous Advisory Team’s meeting.

The team voiced more ideas and concerns to the school district Thursday night, including the chance of offending those who previously voted down the proposed budget by going back out to vote.

Galloway Superintendent of Schools Annette Giaquinto responded by saying that the district was going back out to vote because the referendum was defeated by , and that the projects needed to be done.

Others believed the fact that the Galloway referendum in December was held the same day as the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District’s in December, and that being the only budget to be voted on in March may help.

Giaquinto reiterated the district would need the help of the Advisory Team to get the message of the referendum out. The team was assembled to establish two-way communication between the district and the residents, but Giaquinto stated the team will continue to meet beyond the referendum date.

On Thursday night, Giaquinto wanted to make sure team members were available to make phone calls, and get out to voters at locations throughout the township, such as the and , among others.

“We need your help to get our message out,” Giaquinto said.

Before the December referendum, the school district set up tables at local events, including a play at That type of effort has continued with the upcoming referendum, including a table at the earlier this month at the

Sal Lamantia February 28, 2012 at 05:09 AM
The district has depleted its reserve funds and requires a $5.6 million bond issue to pay for capital replacement projects for buildings and grounds. Instead of steadily funding reserve accounts each year to deal with obvious infrastructure depreciation, those funds spent on other things or were not sufficiently replenished. My layman's conclusion is that the district has unfunded reserve liabilities of at least $5.6 million plus the prorated useful-life replacement value of all the other capital assets owned by the district. Future impact on taxpayers could be huge - I could not find an analysis of the adequacy of reserves in any of the online budget materials. The citizens voted down this deficit spending back in December But the Board decided to have a do-over on March 13th to try again. The law evidently allows new referenda at the discretion of the Board. If the outcome is not what the Board wants they just do it over. Or they can simply go to the State Dept. of Ed. and get approval for it anyway, so what's the point? Just how bad is this deficiency in reserves? Instead of paying for token special elections we should spend those dollars on an independent reserve study to determine how much money will be needed to restore our reserve accounts to proper levels. We don't want an endless series of new debt every time there's a roof leak. It might mean severe spending cuts and likely higher taxes, but hiding the problem with more debt is not the answer.

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