Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler is scheduled to visit the primary school tomorrow. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler plans on spending a little time checking out what school’s like in Red Bank tomorrow.

At the request of state Senator Jen Beck, Schundler will spend an hour at the primary school getting a glimpse of classroom instruction and will be treated to some music, said superintendent Laura Morana.

What he won’t get, says Morana, is any grousing about the Christie Administration’s budget-slashing, which left the two-school Red Bank district with just $24,000 in state aid this year, not counting funds for its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

“Just those key elements that truly make our district successful” are on the agenda, Morana tells redbankgreen. “We really are going to pack that hour.”

It will be the first visit to Red Bank by a member of the Christie Administration, Morana said.

The itinerary calls for Schundler to be escorted around the school between 9 and 10a, checking in on classes, watching presentations from students, and having Morana and staff bend his ear about the pre-k and kindergarten program. He’s also scheduled to watch band and chorus performances.

The goal is simply to give Schundler an up close look at what makes the local schools work so well, Morana said.

“It will be a great experience for him, because until you’re in the classroom, you don’t see what it’s like,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity for him to see what it’s like from a first-hand experience.”

He’ll also get to see how the district is handling a difficult budget season under his watch. Teachers and administrators have agreed to take pay freezes in order to pass the two-school district’s $19 million budget, which also includes across-the-board reductions and a property tax increase.

But tomorrow’s not the time to address that, Morana said.

“That won’t be a topic of discussion at all,” she said.

There’s too much else to squeeze into 60 minutes, she added, to take anything away from the focus of the children.

“We just want him to have an overview of the programs,” Morana said. “We’re going to try and maximize every minute.”