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Old 02-21-2015, 04:18 PM
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Another article about enrollment

Following is the latest surreal article in the Edgewater View about enrollment. For the uninitiated, the Planning Board just did two Master Plan re-examinations in successive years. No one on the Planning Board, which includes McPartland, expressed the slightest interest in enrollment or anything else. Their main concern was ramming it through without "hoopla from neighbors." Previously, the Board of Adjustment heard substantially all large developments, sometimes approving a 100-unit project in one meeting. Depending on the applicant. After Freddy grabbed the entire south end of town, the Board of Adjustment's discretion and its potential for attending litigation were no longer required.

For its part, the Board of Education's practice has been to issue fanciful enrollment projections coupled with surly responses to inquiries from the public. It just spent $28 million for a school, located as far from new developments as physically possible, that was filled as soon as it opened. Board President Tom Quinton is a borough employee and Board Member Barbara Bartolomeo is married to Edgewater Council President Anthony Bartolomeo. You'd think there would already be some interaction? I guess not. Prospects for additional school facilities are iffy, though I assume Freddy will come to the rescue.

We have a town government that can't provide rudimentary public services; i.e., a park, meeting with a school board trying to bail a leaking boat. Presumably, the liaisons will blow kisses back and forth and everyone involved will call it good.

Edgewater looks for answers to rising enrollment
February 20, 2015
Last updated: Friday, February 20, 2015, 12:31 AM
By Svetlana Shkolnikova
Edgewater View

Continuing a dialogue they started two years ago, school and borough officials met again for a conversation about overcrowding in the schools late last month and are discussing ways the Board of Education and the Planning Board can form a partnership for the future.

Superintendent Kerry Postma and trustees Tom Quinton and Cristina Stefani-Rackow presented Mayor Michael McPartland with the latest enrollment statistics at the information session, as well as a copy of a demographic report showing the town's population increasing by 1,000 from 2012 to 2016 and school enrollment jumping from 912 current students to 1,100 by September 2017.

Both Postma and McPartland called the meeting "very positive" and productive, with McPartland saying he would spend his year in office "looking for any type of solutions and any type of ideas to make the system better."

The most promising proposal, which the Board of Education said it is now exploring, would appoint a trustee to attend Planning Board meetings to serve as a liaison between the two bodies "so that there's always friendly contact," said Stefani-Rackow.

Last fall, the Planning Board agreed to keep the district abreast of any large-scale residential developments it's reviewing in exchange for periodic updates on the school's demographics, according to Stefani-Rackow.

Trustees are also meeting with their counterparts in Leonia to plan for the future infrastructure needs of both districts.

A 2013 demographic report showed Edgewater's enrollment rate quickly outpacing Leonia's, particularly in kindergarten through third grade. Edgewater students transfer to Leonia in the seventh grade.

"We're doing our best to keep up with the enrollment but it's moving faster than us," said Quinton at a Parent Teacher Organization meeting last month, estimating an increase of approximately 25 students per year.

About seven years ago, enrollment increased by 100 students in one year.

"Demographics is a guessing game," said Quinton. "The students are coming from everywhere, both the old section of town and the new section of town."

McPartland said he was looking forward to working with Quinton and the rest of the board and school district to resolve the issue.

"I think we're all on the same page," he said.

Email: shkolnikova@northjersey.com
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