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Quick Questions and Answers

Please see below for questions that the community has asked, along with our answers. Some questions may be a compilation of similar questions on the same topic. Questions may be edited for brevity.

Are the big windows next to the entrance doors of the Woodcrest Elementary School vestibule made of tempered glass?

Yes, the large windows next to the doors of the Woodcrest Elementary School main entrance are made of tempered glass.

I've seen a lot of chatter on social media about the new secure entrances at some of our schools and whether they are ADA compliant. Would you please explain what the District is doing regarding ADA compliance?

As a District, we continually work to improve the resources devoted to the wellness of all of our students and staff, including the buildings they learn and work in every day. To that end, projects devoted to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance are in progress now and will continue through the summer months and beyond. We are thrilled with the progress on our security suites, as improved safety and security goes hand in hand with improved wellness. All building elements for our new security suites are designed and constructed for ADA and accessibility compliance.

When full day kindergarten starts in September 2019, will there be a cap on the number of students who are attending (e.g., no more than 300) or will all children who register be enrolled?

As was discussed at a recent Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting and during an update presentation to the full Board of Education on April 30, 2019, all students who register for kindergarten will be placed.

What time will full day Kindergarten begin and end each day in 2019-2020?

Full day kindergarten, which will begin with the first day of the 2019-2020 school year on September 3, 2019, will run the same hours as our regular elementary school hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am-3:30 pm.

What are the dates for High School Final Exams this year?

The dates for final exams at Cherry Hill High Schools East and West are posted on the District web site under the "Academics" tab at the top of the home page. From that tab, click the "Assessment" link and you will see the link titled "2018-2019 Cherry Hill East and West Final Exam Schedule."

Are residents able to run on the tracks at the high schools on the weekend or are they locked?

Our high school tracks are open for community use on the weekends with one important caveat: If there is a team using one of the turf fields at either high school at any time, community use of the track is prohibited.

I found recently that our neighboring school districts have different costs for AP tests. Why does AP testing in our school district cost more per AP test compared to other districts?

The costs associated with the Advance Placement (AP) exams for high school AP students are set by College Board®. The cost does not change based on a school or school district. However, fees could appear to be cheaper if a district contributes part of the expense to help parents. In the Cherry Hill Public Schools, families who cannot afford the exams may get help from their school or may ask the College Board® for a waiver.

How do you go about obtaining your old high school transcripts if it has been 27 years since you graduated?

Transcripts are maintained by each high school. Please contact your alma mater to inquire about your transcripts.

Regarding the vestibules that were voted on Tuesday evening, March 19 for Cherry Hill Schools East and West, what is the design approach for these modifications? Is it just entry reconfiguration or reconfiguring the offices as well?

The design will require a slight reconfiguration of the entryway and main office at each of the high schools. The new configuration will have the main office adjacent to the entryway vestibule of each school. Upon entry to the vestibule, visitors will be able to speak to main office staff through a sliding window, which also will allow for drop off of items for students. The vestibule will have locking doors to both the interior and the exterior of the building, with buzz-in access for visitors and students, and swipe card access for staff. This means that visitors no longer will be free to walk through the high school buildings to gain access to the main office or to drop off an item for a student.

Why was the main baseball backstop fence removed at Beck Middle School?

Last spring the backstop at Henry C. Beck Middle School was damaged beyond repair so it is being replaced. Beck should have a new backstop in place by early March 2019. The District also is replacing the backstop at John A. Carusi Middle School and at the Cherry Hill High School West softball field. Every baseball and softball field at our high schools and middle schools will be getting new pitching rubbers and break away bases have already been installed for the upcoming season. We are improving our athletic facilities to provide our students with safe and well maintained places to practice and compete.

Can I send my child to a school in this town but stilll live in a different town?

Parents who live outside of Cherry Hill may not send their children to the Cherry Hill Public Schools except under the very specific circumstances detailed in Board Policy 5111- Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students. Please refer to that policy for a full explanation student residency requirements.

How much is Judith Wilson, LLC, being paid for running the Community Forums regarding the next iteration of the Bond?

The District received two proposals from firms to help the Board objectively gather as much feedback and information from voters as possible in the aftermath of the December referendum in order to effectively and efficiently plan the next steps to address our district facilities' needs. One proposal was for $14,000; Mrs. Wilson's was for $7,500. In addition to facilitating the five, 75-minute forums, Mrs. Wilson is providing the following:

  • Electronic survey for community members without children in the schools
  • Electronic survey for parents of school children by grade level groups: elementary, middle and high
  • Electronic survey for staff members: Cherry Hill residents and non-residents
  • Summative data from surveys: Open ended question responses and multiple choice responses
  • Recommendations for Board and Administration to consider as next steps are formulated
  • Presentation at one Board level committee meeting or full Board meeting
  • Facilitate the discussions of the Board Ad Hoc Committee (to be formed to make recommendations regarding the Bond)
  • The District selected Mrs. Wilson not only because her proposal was the most cost effective, but also because of her long term diversified experience working in education. Since her retirement from the Princeton School District she has been working with Boards of Education in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania on strategic planning initiatives, public forums, superintendent searches and policy development.

    Dr. Meloche mentioned on December 18, 2018 that the 2018 Bond was based on the Becica report of 2010 and revision 2013. To continue with transparency, can you provide this report and other feasibility studies to stakeholders?

    The work included in the December 2018 Bond was determined from a multitude of sources, one of which was the District-Wide Condition Assessment for the Cherry Hill Public Schools produced by Becica Associates on April 13, 2010 and updated March 5, 2013. Items related to security have been redacted from the report.

    How can I tell which elementary school I am assigned to?

    To find out which elementary school your child will be assigned to, please call our Registration Office at (856) 429-5600, extension 4430, 4432 or 4436. Our Registration staff can tell you, based on your address, which school your child would attend.

    What is the current dollar amount in the Capital Reserve Fund of 2018 to 2019?

    The Capital Reserve Fund at June 30, 2018 is approximately $13 million.

    How is capital reserve used budget to budget?

    Capital reserve is used for prioritized projects as discussed with the District architect, Becica Associates, and the CHPS facilities staff.

    If a short term bond is proposed, what, if any, is the debt service aid from the state of New Jersey?

    The debt service aid from the state will depend on the amount of the bond and the time frame. The debt service aid for the 2018 bond would have been 37 percent.

    Are there restrictions on short term borrowing?

    Yes, the state sets restrictions on short term borrowing. The restrictions depend on the borrowing mechanism used.

    Are there specific rules for using any Capital Reserve Fund?

    Capital Reserve Fund monies must be used for a project included in the District's Long Range Facilities Plan.

    I know there are Open Houses for the middle schools in the district. Is there something similar for High School East and High School West? IF so what are the dates? Thanks so much!

    An Open House for all 8th graders is scheduled at both Cherry Hill High Schools East and West.

    The Cherry Hill East 8th Grade Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 7 pm, with a snow date of Tuesday, January 29.

    The Cherry Hill West 8th Grade Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 7 pm, with a snow date of Thursday, January 31.

    I am hearing from members of our community that the current Cherry Hill Public Schools budget resulted in a 3 percent tax increase. Is this correct?

    As per the "User Friendly Budget" which can be found on the District's website at https://www.chclc.org/uploaded/Departments/Finance/User_Friendly_Budget_2018-19.pdf, the District's 2018-19 Total General Fund Budget is $200,308,954. This is a $4,444,232 or 2.26% increase over the 2017-18 General Fund Budget. The General Fund Tax Levy is held to a 2% increase each budget year, unless the district is eligible for an adjustment to that cap. For the 2018-19 budget year, the General Fund Tax Levy was held to a 2% increase, despite the fact that the District was eligible, due to an adjustment to the cap, to increase the budget beyond the 2%. The tax levy for the General Fund increased in 2018-19 over the 2017-18 school year by $3,3395,311, which is exactly 2%.

    In looking over the bond questions, it's not clear which questions the non-eligible and non-funded projects will be in. Would you please explain?

    For the most part, ineligible costs are found in Question 3. Total ineligible costs are $5,115,543, or 2.43% of the total referendum. Examples of ineligible costs are paving and site work, athletic field improvements and auditorium upgrades.

    Unfunded costs can be found in Questions 1 and 2 and relate to any new construction that is being done. The state will only provide funding on $143 per square foot for new construction. Typical new construction costs approximately $300 per square foot. Of the $24.8 million dollars of new construction, $9.5 million dollars or 38% is considered eligible for funding by the State based on the $143 per square foot rule.

    Overall, of the $210 million dollars in project applications, total unfunded or ineligible is $20,408,031 or 9.68% of the total project.

    With regard to the upcoming bond referendum, please explain why asbestos abatement is listed in some schools and not others.

    All of our schools have asbestos, and some level of asbestos abatement will need to be done in every school as part of these projects. Asbestos can be typically found in floor tiles, pipe wrapping and the glue that is used to mount blackboards. Sometimes is can be found in plaster walls as in Rosa School and the ceiling as in Carusi School. The District has reports that outlines where asbestos is located in each building. Asbestos becomes problematic when it has to be broken up or cut into in order to complete a work project. If asbestos is located in areas that are being renovated, removal of the asbestos will need to be done prior to the renovations beginning. All abatements will be conducted while the buildings are unoccupied.

    What is the process for starting a new club at one of the Cherry Hill Schools? How do new clubs secure funding for costs (sponsor/coach, transportation, materials, etc.)?

    Students at our elementary and middle schools may propose a new club to their building principal. The principal should be consulted regarding what such a proposal should include.

    At Cherry Hill High School East, students may pick up a Club Creator Form in the Activities Office or print one out from the Student Activities Eboard on the East web site. Students must fill out the form and find a staff member to serve as adviser. Students would then meet with the Coordinator of Student Activities to discuss the purpose, direction, proposed club activities and need for the club at East. The Coordinator of Student Activities will either approve, modify or decline the club after this meeting.

    At Cherry Hill High School West, students may start a club if they have at least two members and a faculty member who has agreed to be an adviser. They must write up a description of the club, what their goals are and when/how often they plan to meet. The members sign the proposal, as does the faculty adviser, and they have a club.

    Funding for clubs come from the group's own fundraising efforts. All club fundraising and expenditure of funds are governed by Board Policies 5830 - Student Fund Raising and 6660 - Student Activity Funds.

    How often does Cherry Hill High School East, including the desks and doors, get cleaned/disinfected? Also,when is the last time the school's halls and classrooms received a new coat of paint? It is time to put these items into the budget. Long overdue.

    All classrooms, doors and desks in all of our schools are thoroughly cleaned over the summer and when we have extended periods when the buildings are closed, such as Winter and Spring Break. In addition, desks are wiped down nightly. Painting is definitely on the priority list – throughout the District – as well as new ceilings and lighting for school corridors to brighten them up.