Morris Plains School District Plans Renovations, Modernizations
Morris Plains School District, one of only a small percentage of NJ districts that opened their doors to all students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has made some major improvements to their academic buildings in the past few years, and more updates are soon to come!
In 2016, the Morris Plains School District secured and executed a referendum replacing the windows, lights, exterior doors, hallway floors, and sections of the roof at Borough School
(grades 3-8), in addition to modernizing the school’s auditorium with state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. Most recently, windows were replaced in Mountain Way School (Pre-K to 2nd) using referendum funds.
The projects, mentioned above, increased energy efficiency, reduced energy costs, and modernized these academic buildings.
Prior to the pandemic, the Morris Plains School District was one of four districts in the state, and the only K-8 district, that received the Silver Distinction, the highest Future Ready Schools-NJ certification available; recognizing the district as a leader of innovation in instructional practices and technology.
“In specific, we have prepared budgets within the 2% tax levy cap, while many expenditure increases have exceeded 2%. With limited COVID relief funds and minimal annual state aid increases, we continue to invest in staffing, professional development, curricular programs, instructional resources and equipment, facilities, etc. Master schedules have been revised to increase math and literacy instruction, and new courses were designed to promote creativity and cultural arts. The District has also successfully retained and recruited talented staff.” – Letter from Mark R. Maire, Superintendent of Schools, Morris Plains School District, Jan. 3, 2023.
The District has also cut spending by eliminating courtesy bussing and generated revenue through participation in the School Choice program and the creation of special education programs (like RISE and STARS), which not only attract more students to the district but leads to millions of dollars in tuition savings for the District.
From an infrastructure perspective, Morris Plains School district prioritized investment in safety, security, and technology advancements, including:
- Modified entrances at both schools to create a safer security entrance that includes a holding area to effectively manage visitors entering the buildings.
- Installed state-of-the-art video surveillance cameras at both schools; 24/7 police access.
- Upgraded firewall, switches, and servers.
Moving forward, the District now plans to make the above improvements at Mountain Way and Borough Schools.
The Mountain Way expansion project will:
- Create FIVE new classrooms and will be flexible to accommodate SEVEN new instructional spaces including a sensory room.
- Reinvigorate SIX existing learning spaces.
- Add TWO single occupancy accessible bathrooms.
- Include an outdoor classroom and a new outdoor playground with rubber flooring, along with a turfed play area along the perimeter of the new play equipment.
*It is important to note that the district's enrollment numbers have remained stagnant over the last ten years. The increase in specialized programs serves as the driving force behind Mountain Way’s classroom expansion.
The Borough School renovation project will update all staff and student bathrooms, allowing for a more accessible and modern environment
As a result of these projects, Morris Plains School District will be issuing a referendum of roughly $9.5 million.
“These necessary projects are unattainable through our operating budget and would be a great long term investment for our property values, and attracting the best teachers and families to Morris Plains…Please note, these funds are issued via a loan and will result in a minimal impact to taxpayers.” – Letter from Mark R. Maire, Superintendent of Schools, Morris Plains School District, Jan. 3, 2023.
The estimated cost to the average homeowner ($440K home) is $63 per year. The loan period is 20 years, and the Debt Service Aid from the state is projected at 8.22% of the total Referendum Cost. The referendum vote is scheduled for March 14, 2023.
To learn more about the upcoming referendum vote, Public Forum sessions have been scheduled in the Mountain Way Library:
- February 1st at 7 pm
- March 1st at 7 pm
- March 4th at 10 am
In addition, Mountain Way walk-throughs, open to the public, will run from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm prior to the start of board meetings between January 24th through March 7th.
“The Morris Plains Board of Education asks for your support to RESTORE learning spaces, EXPAND academic programs, and INCLUDE all children in our learning community. We are asking for your assistance to get involved and join us in the evolution of our school district and protect your investment as a Morris Plains resident.” Letter from Mark R. Maire, Superintendent of Schools, Morris Plains School District, Jan. 3, 2023.
For updates, subscribe to our free newsletter!
Morristown Minute has been approved for the 2022 Local News Fund!*
Improve mental health accessibility in our town! Donate to Morristown, NJs local mental health accessibility fund today!
*The 2022 Local News Fund is a program administered by the Local Media Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with the Local Media Association. The program’s purpose is to allow independent and family-owned news organizations to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities for journalism projects focusing on critical local issues. Contributions to this program are tax-deductible to the full extent of U.S. law; please consult a tax advisor for details.