BARNEGAT – Some elementary school students in the township school system will be attending different schools by the new school year in September, according to a plan approved by a split vote by the Barnegat Board of Education.
Board members voted 6 to 3 to approve the redistricting plan that would send some students to different elementary schools.
It wasn’t the vote that the dozens of parents who packed the meeting at the Robert L. Horbelt Elementary School wanted to hear.
More than 20 parents spoke against the plan during the public session before the board voted. Most bashed the plan and a number of residents asked questions. No school officials spoke during the public session.
“Why are you not answering?” one woman asked the board. “I find it disgraceful that you don’t answer the questions.”
The restructuring plan has also been discussed on the Facebook page “Barnegat Parents Against School Restructuring.” One of the administrators posted several items related to the restructuring, including an article from theclassroom.com entitled “How to Remove School Board Members.” The site also asks who would support hiring an attorney to stop the restructuring plan.
The new plan calls for pre-kindergarten students to attend the Lillian M. Dunfee School. Students from kindergarten through second grade will go the Cecil S. Collins School, and third and fourth graders will go to the Joseph T. Donahue School. Fifth and sixth graders will attend the Robert L. Horbelt School. The Russell L. Brackman Middle School will house seventh and eighth graders.
The reconfiguration plan will allow the district to “better tailor instruction and resources” to meet the needs of students, Superintendent Dr. Brian Latwis stated on the district’s webpage at barnegatschools.com.
“We, as a district, will be able to better tailor instruction and resources to meet the diverse needs of our students,” he wrote on the webpage. “While change may seem daunting at times, it is essential for growth.”
School officials have done their “due diligence” on all aspects of the plan, including transportation, costs, staffing and how to put the plan into action, Latwis said in a Feb. 26 letter to parents and community members.
“We are confident this will offer our students the right foundation to learn, grow and excel,” he wrote.
The next school board meeting is 6:30 p.m. March 24, at the Brackman Middle School.