Haddonfield BOE Meets Four Times this Month, Bancroft Deal Main Agenda
A joint meeting with Haddonfield Commissioners is next Wednesday, July 18.
The Haddonfield Board of Education will meet four times this month with an eye toward approving a tentative agreement to purchase the Bancroft property.
All are public meetings and two have already taken place this week. The board met Tuesday for its annual retreat, a marathon meeting of ideas and goals for the coming school year.
On Thursday, the board met for its regular action meeting. It usually meet twice monthly, but the deal announced on July 3 for the board and the borough to purchase the nearly 19-acre Bancroft property has turbo charged a usually sleepy month for school matters. The board only had one action meeting scheduled before the blockbuster agreement was announced.
The deal was negotiated by Haddonfield Commissioner Ed Borden, Board of Education President Steve Weinstein and representatives from Bancroft, a center for the developmentally disabled and acquired brain injures.
Next Wednesday's meeting will be the first gauge of public opinion on the $12.2 million purchase deal. An informal Patch survey poll on the purchase had 52 percent of 285 respondents against the deal and 47 percent for it as of Friday morning. The Bancroft property has been seen as an oasis of land that could be developed in this nearly built-out, 300-year-old town.
No vote on the measure will be held on Wednesday, but a vote may be held at a board meeting on July 31 to approve a letter of intent to go forward with the deal. Borough commissioners will meet on July 23 and may vote to approve the letter of intent, as well.
The land is next to Haddonfield Memorial High School on Kings Highway East and would be used for possible school expansion, athletic fields and open space if the agreement is approved by voters in a public referendum. The total projected cost of acquisition, demolition and initial development of the property is just under $17 million.
A public referendum on the Bancroft purchase is expected in January. If approved, Bancroft has up to two years to vacate the property.
In other business Thursday, board member Joe Ehrhardt said the track at the high school stadium is damaged and needs to be repaired. He asked whether the company responsible for the track, American Athletic Courts, Inc., was still under a warranty agreement.
“This is a sorry state of affairs. It’s a terrible situation,” Ehrhardt said. “And it’s not our problem. They’re the manufacturers. It’s their problem.”
Weinstein said he believed the warranty extended until October or November. The matter will be reviewed for future action.
The BOE also tabled several agenda items for a second reading at their next meeting.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story had an incorrect number of board meetings this month.