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School Improvements Referendum on the Horizon

April 1, 2017


Back-to-School Nights (BTSN) in the fall of 2016 served as an opportunity for parents to meet their child’s teacher and other school staff. The evenings also provided a way for us to get residents’ feedback on what they feel is impor­tant within Lawrence Township Public Schools...possible considerations for a probable referendum.


We collected input by distributing “Your Thoughts” cards at all BTSN. Afterwards and for those who don’t have children in our schools or didn’t attend BTSN, we requested input more broadly via social media. Additionally, a breakout session at our Com­munity Conversation, held November 3, 2016, focused on a possible referendum and solicited priorities from attendees.


What did we learn?

Based on feedback we received, the top prior­ity by far is for us to air condition more school spaces. School additions from the 2002 referen­dum included air conditioning. More recently, we’ve installed air conditioning in many schools’ larger spaces such as auditoriums and multi-pur­pose rooms. However, we have many classrooms and other spaces that are not air conditioned.


Additional considerations are:

  • life safety system upgrades at all schools and district buildings including tele­phone, public address, intrusion alarm and access control systems;
  • boiler and heating system replacement at Lawrence Middle School (LMS);
  • elevator construction and related work at LMS; and
  • security vestibule construction at Slack­wood School, Eldridge Park School, Lawrence Intermediate School, and LMS.


The process for defining the scope of a referendum and bringing it to voters involves great consideration and much discussion. Once the Lawrence Board of Education (BOE) decided to move forward, Tom Eldridge, business administrator, solicited proposals from architects to submit plans for pre-referendum work. The BOE selected and approved The Spiezle Architect Group at the February 28, 2017 BOE meeting.


After first receiving projects the BOE identified as possible referendum inclusions, the architectural firm currently is developing a list of facilities projects and estimated costs. Once the BOE receives this feedback, it will decide the scope and total cost of the referen­dum to propose to voters.


How will residents get more informa­tion about the referendum?

The BOE will give referendum updates at BOE meetings. Additionally we will keep residents informed using social media such as our website (, our free e-news­letter QuickNews (subscribe via our website), our Facebook page and Twitter account (fol­low @LTPS1), and news releases to the local media.


When will Lawrence residents vote on the referendum?

At this time, it’s anticipated the date will be in 2018. This page will be updated as we learn more.

Questions? Contact Tom Eldridge at or (609) 671-5420.