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Voters Approve Full Day Kindergarten by 43 Votes

By Barbara A. Preston l Posted December 1, 2022

Montgomery and Rocky Hill voters narrowly approved a referendum to add a full-day kindergarten program in the school district. Voters passed the referendum by 43 votes according to the Somerset County Clerk Office — 3,892 to 3,849. It took until Thanksgiving Day for the all the votes — including early voting, absentee and provisional ballots — to be counted. Early results favored the nay voters — with 3,584 voting no to 3,522 in favor.

Full day kindergarten classrooms would be located in Orchard Hill Elementary School. (File photo of Montgomery students at OHS.)

Full Day K to begin in the 2023-24 school year

Full-day kindergarten for Montgomery students would begin the 2023-2024 school year, according to Superintendent Mary E. McLoughlin. “The idea of full-day kindergarten is not new, ... it has been a goal for the district for quite some time. In 2019 we were presented with the closure of the township’s Kid Connection program, which impacted the school district in two ways.” “First, many of our half-day kindergarten students attended the other half of their day in the Kid Connection program, providing them with a full-day experience at the Orchard Hill Elementary School (OHES) campus. Students were transported to and from both programs by the school district.”

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The closure of the Kid Connection program also provided the district with the opportunity to secure ownership of the Kid Connection building, located on the OHES campus. The additional classrooms in this building provided us with the space necessary to implement full-day kindergarten. As part of the one-time cost for facilities mentioned above, the plan is to use the Early Childhood Center, formerly known as the Kid Connection Building, for the preschool program. The current preschool classrooms in the OHES building will become the additional kindergarten classrooms necessary for full-day kindergarten.

Taxpayer impact

The overall amount approved by voters is a recurring amount of $1,620,152 and the one-time amount of $669,763. The recurring amount is for seven full-time classroom teachers, a part-time visual and performing arts teacher, a full-time health and physical education teacher, two special services teachers, six educational support assistants, a full-time custodian, a full-time counselor, a full-time clerk, a part-time assistant librarian and a part-time lunch aide.

The one-time amount is to upgrade the Kid Connection building, including fire alarm and security improvements, new windows and repairs to the ventilation system. For the average Montgomery Township homeowner, the actual permanent tax increase would be an extra $201 per year. For Rocky Hill, the increase would be $133 per year. In addition, the average Montgomery homeowner would pay a one-time tax of $83; and Rocky Hill homeowners would pay $54.

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Current school tax

For the average assessed home in Montgomery ($505,821) and Rocky Hill ($488,448), the school tax for 2022 is: The Montgomery Township 2022 school tax rate is 2.212 per $100 of valuation. So an average Montgomery home valued at $505,821 divided by 100 = 5,058.21 x 2.212 equals $11,188.76 in school taxes in 2022. The average Montgomery tax payer will pay an extra $201 (annual increase for full day kindergarten) plus $83 (one time charge for kindergarten) in 2023.

The Rocky Hill 2022 school tax rate is 1.410 per $100 of valuation. So an average Rocky Hill home valued at $488,448 divided by 100 = 4,884.48 x 1.410 equals $6,887.12 in school taxes for 2022. The average Rocky Hill homeowner will pay an extra $133 (annual increase for full day kindergarten) plus $54 (one time charge for kindergarten) in 2023.

Only 11 school districts in New Jersey do not offer full-day kindergarten. Of those 11, six are in central New Jersey – Montgomery Township, Bridgewater- Raritan, Metuchen, Monroe, New Providence, and Westfield.


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