By Bill Cleary
On Thursday (April 21) Spaventa said “Highland Park School will be closing but the Program for Success and Adult Night School will remain intact. Exact arrangements for accommodations of the programs are taking place and not finalized.”
"The Board of Education has not officially stated their plans for the building but we will be closing it over the summer. I would imagine an offer would not be turned down! The conservative estimate of savings on the building is approximately $110,000. We are not replacing Martin O'Connor (principal of the Cold Springs School) but reallocating administrative duties. That saves an additional $144,000,” he said.
Highland Park Principal Victoria C. Ernst sent a letter home to the parents of the students who attend the school on March 23. It reads in part, “Starting in September 2011, the Highland Park Program for Success will be located in C-Wing of the Gloucester City Jr.Sr. High School. The unique structure and family like qualities of our program will remain the same, only the location is changing.
“For those students who utilize our Teddy Bear Care, rest assure that the daycare will still be a very important part of our program," she said.
The move to the high school offers the 45 students who go to classes at the HP school access to wireless internet, computer access, library and gymnasiums things they do not have now said Ernst. The program at HP has been in existence for 11 years.
Although not confirmed by Spaventa, a source said the plans call for the 7th and 8th graders to vacate about seven classrooms after 1 PM to accommodate the HP students. The 7th and 8th grades will then take gym, music, art and health in a different part of the building.
The Highland Park School was one of four Neighborhood Schools to be closed as a result of the District coming under Abbott in the early 90's. Gloucester City is one of 31 school districts in the state. Those four buildings (Brown Street School, Broadway School, Gloucester Hts. School and Highland Park School) were found to be outdated and needed major repairs. As such they were closed. Some students were moved to the new Cold Springs School and others were placed in the Mary Ethel School.
What do you think about the school closing?
What do the school board candidates think about this move? Are you for or against it?
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