Haddonfield, NJ votes no on high school expansion

January 22, 2013 8:51:24 PM PST
Voters in Haddonfield, New Jersey have voted down a plan to expand the high school.

A special election was held today on a proposal to purchase land owned and used by the non-profit Bancroft.

The school board wanted to build an athletic field and parking on the nearly 20 acre parcel.

Bancroft would have used money from the sale to build a modern facility elsewhere.

Critics objected to the cost of the project.

'Vote No' and 'Vote Yes' signs were stuck on many a Haddonfield front lawn.

"We're for it," said resident Tom Heine. "We're for it. The High school needs the field."

"Taxes in Haddonfield are already extremely high," said resident Jean Schroeder. "This would raise them tremendously."

Supporters said the site would give the school the ability to expand and provide new educational and athletic opportunities to the students and the community, including an artificial turf field.

"The athletic programs in our town are in desperate need of space," said Jessica Miller, "so the turf field would be used all the time."

Property taxes would have increased by $189 per year for an average home assessed at $491,000.

"We can't afford this," said David Coggins, "and we have no business acquiring new capital until we take care of what we got."

"We have four children who went through Haddonfield schools," said Carol Flanigan. "They all played sports. They did well with the sports without a turf field."

Local groups Haddonfield United and One Haddonfield have both been vocal on either side of the project.

"I don't want to see senior citizens who have built this town get forced out because of the tax situation," said Brian Kelly of Haddonfield United.

"This is the one chance we're going to have to obtain a property that is a cornerstone of our community," said Jack O'Malley, chairman of One Haddonfield.