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Ballot Question No. 1 Good for New Jersey [Op-Ed]

The writer is Nancy H. Blattner, president of Caldwell College.

When New Jersey residents head to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 6, they will have a unique opportunity to make a difference in higher education in New Jersey.

Ballot question #1, the Building Our Future Bond Act, will provide capital investment to academic and research facilities at colleges and universities. Forty-nine colleges and universities, including Caldwell College, will have the opportunity to receive monies for capital improvements. This grant money cannot be used for administrative, residence or athletic facilities. 

This bond act is long overdue. New Jersey is on a list of one of only five states in the nation that has spent no money on capital improvements for higher education in the last five years, a list that includes Alabama and Montana.    Compare that with our New York and Connecticut neighbors where hundreds of millions in higher education facilities are being invested annually, and it is clear that in order to stay competitive, we need to invest in capital improvements in higher education in New Jersey. It is important to note that this cost can be absorbed in the state budget without any tax increases.

The Bond act requires that colleges pay 25 percent of the capital funding for the projects they take on, so in that they will have “skin in the game.” Colleges and universities will be contributing to creating jobs as they efficiently use the funds.   

This bond issue provides a rare opportunity as higher education institutions in New Jersey have not had the chance to receive this type of capital investment in more than two decades. Technology and research have changed drastically in that time! 

At Caldwell, we envision using the investment to renovate our science building into state-of-the-art nursing labs, paving the way for a master’s degree in nursing. Projections demonstrate that the United States will be facing a serious shortage of nurses as baby boomers age and are diagnosed with chronic diseases. Nurses will need to be educated and skilled to work in the community with varied populations. Caldwell College’s new bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program is responding to that need. 

This Bond Act, which has received bi-partisan support, will strengthen the economy in New Jersey. You can find out more about the bond act at our Caldwell College VOTE YES ON #1 Student Rally on Tuesday Oct. 30, at 12:30 p.m. in the Student Center Gym. We hope you can join us.

And please vote yes on ballot question #1 on Nov. 6. It is the right thing to do for New Jersey’s economy and for business, labor and the college students who will become tomorrow’s leaders in the Garden State.  

Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D. is president of Caldwell College.

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