It’s a lot of money, but $106.1 million is the smallest sum in well more than a decade that New Jersey voters approved in referendums for new school construction in 2012.
Overall, voters approved 11 of 20 bond proposals in six specific election days spread over the year, including four of six proposals approved earlier this month that totaled $40 million alone. In total, districts asked for $208 million in projects in 2012. But this is a far cry from the more than $1 billion in new construction approved as recently as 2005, out of close to $1.8 billion requested.
And that doesn’t include the court-ordered school construction under the Schools Development Authority, which amounts to hundreds of millions more. The chief reason, of course, has been the still-slumping economy, but also tighter purse strings on the state’s share of the bill and a deep reluctance by districts to even ask voters.