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State Approves Some School Grants, Not Westmoreland Expansion

The Department of Education approved grants for 11 projects to replace roofs and windows at Fair Lawn schools, but not one which would have allowed officials to pursue full-day kindergarten.

Westmoreland Elementary School. File photo.
Westmoreland Elementary School. File photo.
State officials announced last week $3,220,394 in grants awarded to Fair Lawn schools for construction projects. 

The funding will cover about 40 percent of the costs of 11 projects at nine borough schools, according to Superintendent Bruce Watson. State officials did not approve funding for a proposed 10,000-square-foot expansion of Westmoreland Elementary School which would have addressed space issues and given the district room for full-day kindergarten.

If officials want all the grants, they'll need to find a way to fund about $5 million to cover the local share of the projects. Watson said they may pursue a longterm bond referendum so as to minimize the impact on taxes, but the school board hasn't made a decision yet.

"This is what they offered to us, but we have to come up with the other money while trying to figure out a new plan for [full-day] kindergarten," board President Michael Rosenberg said.

District officials have 18 months to get a contract signed in order to receive the state funding. They can opt to take all, some or none of the grants.

The proposed projects approved for funding include:
  • Lyncrest School roof replacement — $678,000
  • Forrest School roof replacement — $514,000
  • Memorial School window replacement — $874,000
  • Westmoreland School roof replacement — $745,000
  • Warren Point School window replacement — $350,000
  • Warren Point roof replacement — $616,000
  • Radburn School window replacement — $50,000
  • Edison School window replacement — $812,000
  • Fair Lawn High School roof replacement — $2,000,000
  • FLHS window replacement — $581,000
  • Jefferson School roof replacement — $825,000

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