In a 7-1 vote Wednesday night, the Mahwah Board of Education approved a $56.1 million budget for the 2014-15 school year that includes the construction of a $4.3 million “multi-purpose facility” at the high school, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the report, the budget calls for an increase of $108 for the average township homeowner. The complex, however, will not be paid for from new tax dollars, but from the district’s capital reserve fund – an $8.3 million account made up of money left over from budgets over the last 11 years, the report said.
Seven of the board’s nine members voted for the budget and complex, the report said. Rick DeSilva was not at the meeting, and Suzanne Curry voted against it.
“I still do not see the data to support an urgent need for a sports complex for practice only for our student athletes,” Curry said in a statement provided to Patch.
“Also, I was only presented one option at a total cost of 4.3. million taxpayer educational dollars and I would have liked to have been presented with others. I am not one for voting against anything that will benefit children, but I do not believe this building is the right solution at the right cost.”
Curry also noted that she received 35 letters from residents against the building, and 17 in favor of it, over the past few weeks.
According to NorthJersey.com, about a dozen residents attended Wednesday night’s meeting to comment on the complex, with one speaking in favor of it, and the rest against.
The 26,000 square foot facility will include practice fields, a track, additional practice areas, coach and meeting rooms, and a concession stand. Many opponents to the project said they felt the district should have spent the money on a different capital investment.
According to a report, the district expects to start construction on the new facility in October, and finish in December of 2015.