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Schools, Residents to Talk Enrollment Drop

First meeting of Proposed Facilities Plan Committee will take place Wednesday.

About 40 residents are expected to take part in an open meeting Wednesday night, March 7, hosted by the Washington Township School board’s Proposed Facilities Plan Committee, and will begin the exploration of options facing the district’s .

The committee, which was and includes board members Michael Rec, Chance Healy, Kevin Daly, has asked volunteers from a wide variety of residential groups to take part, including students, “empty-nesters” and parents of school-aged children.

“I think we’ve got just about every segment of the community represented,” Munley said about Wednesday night’s potential turnout. “We want to share our objectives with the group and get on the same page so we can move forward.”

will go over demographer Richard Grip’s study presented to the board in November. That study projects Washington Township’s enrollment numbers will be down more than 500 students in grades kindergarten through eight in five years.

“We’ll tell the residents what they’re signing up for,” Munley said. “We’ll go over a timeline and explain why we’re here, and what we plan to do in this process.”

Munley said she’s excited about the broad spectrum of residents coming together to work on the issue.

“We need to go over all the options on this topic,” Munley said. “There are going to be short- and long-term solutions that we hope to implement as soon as we can.”

The group will meet at the 7 p.m. at the . Munley said the best way to contact the committee and get involved is by emailing her at mmunley@wtschools.org, or Superintendent Jeff Mohre at jmohre@wtschools.org. Interested residents may also call the board office at 908-876-4172.

Anonymous March 06, 2012 at 01:44 PM
What's to study. It's time to shut down a school. The fixed costs of keeping an extra school open aren't justified under any circumstances.
Thomas Lotito March 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The BOE is expanding with the bus depot and another layer of administrators for special ed programs. The purpose of Munley's committee is a horse and pony show for the residents. Long Valley schools are controlled by the unions. Employee compensation is the largest portion of the 71% of your property tax bill you pay to fund the schools....
RGJ March 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
There is a central flaw here is assuming that a "wide range" of demographic types that happen to show up at a meeting or join an ad hoc committee are representative of anything. That is what elections are for. Public cattle calls may attract the opionated fringes, or like-minded types that elected officials can then incorrectly call a "consensus". It is like a self-sorting study to attract biased individuals. The BOE should simply follow up the demographers report by ordering an expedited assessment of savings under different scenarios by an outside expert. This should take no time at all -- 30 days --and would frame the debate. Maybe closing a school isn't worth the savings. Maybe closing two schools over five years is appropriate and can return educational programs while garnering tax savings. I don't think anyone knows the numbers.
wt-taxpayer March 07, 2012 at 03:19 PM
If 'domino' has a bone to pick with 'rgj' he should take it elsewhere. frankly, i'm sick of public forums being used for public floggings and does nothing to enhance the discussion at hand.
wt-taxpayer March 07, 2012 at 03:34 PM
i question the value of another study. there are shelves full of studies that do nothing after the consultants have long gone and spent the money. i wish we could just get down to the basics of: 1. how do we wisely use taxes - for schools and govt. needs? 2. what are the priorities? 3. can a consensus be met via voter input? How can taxes be raised every year for those living on a fixed or lower income? Some states allow seniors to 'opt out' of the school budget portion of the property tax. We would like to be considered in the discussion, but will our voice be heard if all the BOE want is more money?

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