Haddonfield BOE Meets for First Time Since Bancroft Referendum Failed

The board will hold a regular meeting at the high school library.

The Haddonfield Board of Education is scheduled to gather at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school library for a regularly scheduled meeting.

The gathering could take on a postmortem air in the wake of the controversial $12.5 Bancroft public purchase referendum defeat on Tuesday. Voters rejected the plan by 251 votes, 2,387 to 2,136, with nearly half of the borough's 9,434 registered voters casting ballots.

The defeat effectively kills the joint public effort by the BOE and borough to buy the 19.2-acre Bancroft property at 425 Kings High School East next to the high school. The school board and the borough saw the property as an oasis of possibilities in this nearly built-out, 300-year-old town. The plan was to acquire it for the expansion of athletic fields, open-space preservation and future school-board use.

Opponents of the plan successfully argued it was too expensive for overburdened tax payers and too vague. The defeat of the referendum could have been turned by residents near Radnor Field, one of several athletic fields scattered around the borough because there is not enough space for them on the high school's main campus.

Residents near Radnor had expressed concerns the field might be sold to residential developers if the BOE built new fields on the Bancroft property. The referendum went down by 218 votes in that district, 629 to 411.

Tonight's agenda includes beginning discussions on the BOE's next budget and a report from Superintendent Richard Perry on Haddonfield school security since the fatal Connecticut school shootings last month.

john smythe January 26, 2013 at 02:40 AM
To Pro Haddonfield....your contempt at the people who engage you in this forum is short sighted. Your facetious responses should not be directed at those passionate for or against this referendum. Rather direct your opinion to the 50% who did not vote. Or the town and school board who didn't clearly communicate a cohesive plan. We need to standup against entitlement. The current tax system is unsustainable. It is a ponzi scheme that our children will inherit. This is the biggest travesty that few speak out against for fear of reprisal.
Eric Johnson January 26, 2013 at 04:11 AM
John Smythe- if you don't mind,let me ask you a question. Do you get more from the 55% of your property tax that goes to the public schools or the 27% that goes to the county? I would hope you get more from the schools in town than the county prisons and courthouses. An average tax here is 12,000 so about 6500 goes the the public schools. What will a private education cost your family? In a private school, the classrooms aren't smaller, the teachers not any better, the curriculum not any newer. This 6500 school tax we pay is low for an average house assessed at 500,000. Now what about another public school system, say Cherry hill? Housing average assessed value is 140,000 and pays 5000 to the public schools. Is moving there worth saving 100 per month? One more question. You do understand why our home values are so much higher than others nearby? Because people want to move here and are willing to pay more for a house in haddonfield than a house that cost the same price to build in cherry hill. Haddonfield (more importantly - Camden County) isn't for everyone... And many of those above we would probably be a better town without. Overall, we get a high amount of return for our city tax dollar. It is quite sustainable to anyone who places a value to education, security and a better way of life. We forget it is the housing costs that limits some from living here, not the tax. Don't expect to get more equity in your home without investing more in the schools and community.
John J. Kirkwood January 26, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Steve Weinstein's arrogance and disdain for public input has been on display for a long time, this isn't something that only Dr. Hoch has recently observed. I've been taking it in and reacting critically to it for many years. Weinstein should resign and move to Wyoming or some such place where there's lots of open space and fewer people for him to inflict himself upon. Clearly, his "service" on the BOE has been driven by egoism not altruism. How do jerks like him get elected in the first place?
Maryann Campling January 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM
JJK....I guess they get elected because good people don't run and disinterested people don't vote! My observation about politicians on all levels is that they are driven by a personal agenda, be it ego, future career aspirations, perceived social status. And please, before the hate mail starts...I also know that some (read few) do have the best interests of the folks at heart. I know several people in town who would be brilliant serving as a Commissioner....they are bright, dedicated, clear thinking individuals who love this town, but....don't have a personal agenda, or ego and just don't have the heart to tolerate all of the "stuff" (you know the word I'd like to use, but Mr. Duhart would have to edit it!) that goes along with the job. I am encouraged by the outcome of the recent referendum, not just because the bond was defeated, but more importantly....maybe now more people will be paying attention to what goes on in our town.
martin helsig January 26, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Eric John......school systems help you sell a house. They don't appreciate a house. The other reasons why people move to Haddonfield is the PATCO, downtown and driving distance to Philadelphia. What is not sustainable are the benefits and pensions that we continue to pay for so the public sector can have what the private sector does not. Putting in small amounts of money and taking out large amounts over 20-30 years after retirement is killing us. Putting in $100K and taking out over $2MM in pension benefits for a NJ State Supreme Court judge is unsustainable


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