On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by William J. Brennan, Jr., J. Heher, J., concurring. Heher, J., concurring in result.
Upon plaintiffs' petition, in which defendant joined, we certified the judgment entered in the Law Division of the Superior Court dismissing plaintiffs' amended complaint.
Defendant proposed a program for enlarging several school buildings and to issue bonds in the amount of $560,000 to finance the first half of the program. There being existing debt limitations, approval of the proposal, as required by R.S. 18:5-86, as amended, was first obtained from the State Commissioner of Education and the Local Government Board before the proposal was submitted, as is also required by that statute and as was in any event required by R.S. 18:7-73, to a referendum vote at an election held December 2, 1952 when the proposal was adopted by a vote of 875 to 542. However, the defendant board did not prior to that election submit the proposed building expansion plans to the local planning board for approval as to "location, character and
extent thereof" according to R.S. 40:55-7, as amended by L. 1948, c. 464, and L. 1949, c. 157.
When the building program was authorized by resolution adopted August 27, 1952, the 1952-1953 school budget included an appropriation captioned "Current expenses, administrative, architecture fees, preliminary." Some $358.85 of this appropriation was spent by defendant for "printing, artist's work and postage" to print and circulate an 18-page booklet entitled "Read the Facts Behind the Parsippany-Troy Hills School Building Program." All but one page of the booklet depicts in graphic form, effectively illustrated to arrest the reader's attention, such facts as the growth of the grade school population (from 1945, doubled, and by 1956 to be tripled), the inadequacies of existing facilities, the proposed immediate additions, with architectural sketches, to two schools, other expansions planned to be deferred until 1955, the aggregate and annual costs, principal and interest, of the immediate program and the effect upon taxes of such cost. However, there also appears on the cover and on two of the pages "Vote YES," and "Vote YES -- December 2, 1952," and an entire page which, except for an accompanying sketch, we reproduce:
"What Will Happen if You Don't Vote Yes?
This will automatically CHEAT your child of 1/3 of his education (4 hours instead of 6)
Yearly school changing and hour long Bus rides will continue for many children.
Morning Session (8:30 - 12:30) Children will leave home 1/2 hour earlier
Afternoon Session (12:30 - 4:30) Children will return home 1 1/2 hours later (many after dark)
Children in some families would be attending different sessions (depending upon grade)
Transportation costs will increase (could double) with 2 sets of bus routes per day.
Temporary room rentals will continue ($4,000 per year)
Double use of equipment will necessitate more ...