Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Brooklawn OKs $1.9M bond proposal

BROOKLAWN Voters on Tuesday approved a $1.9 million bond proposal to convert a former Catholic church into a middle school to ease overcrowding in the Camden County school district.

The measure to buy the vacant St. Maurice Church and rectory passed, 210-171, in a special election, said school Superintendent John Kellmayer. The proposal calls for renovating both and housing five classrooms, small-group instructional areas, and office space.

"We are very pleased that the referendum passed and thankful to the community for its support," Kellmayer said in a statement. "We look forward to the acquisition of the church and rectory as a project that will benefit not only the school district but the entire community for many years to come."

No other special school elections were scheduled for Tuesday in Burlington, Camden, or Gloucester Counties.

Brooklawn school officials said the district, which currently has one school, the Alice Costello Elementary School, desperately needs more space. The district currently enrolls about 360 students.

The state will pay about $620,000 for the project, and the borough will be responsible for $1.3 million. St. Maurice and its rectory have been vacant since 2011.

Kellmayer said a school property-tax increase is not expected because the expansion will generate additional revenue by educating special-education students from Brooklawn and other districts.

As an added layer of protection, Shop Rite of Brooklawn donated $50,000 to a contingency fund Tuesday to minimize "the risk of using tax dollars" for the project. The donation was announced an hour before polls opened. - Melanie Burney


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