FAIR HAVEN: VOTERS TO DECIDE $15.6M PLAN

fair haven knollwood school 052219.Architectural renderings of the proposed additions to the Knollwood School (above) and Sickles School. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fair haven schools sickles plan 052219Fair Haven residents are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $15.6 million plan to create classrooms and improve security at the borough’s two schools.

But first, they’ve got to go to the right polling station.

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RED BANK: RUMAGE REFLECTS ON FIVE YEARS

JARED RUMAGE, red bankSuperintendent Jared Rumage wished middle schoolers a nice holiday weekend on the Friday before Memorial Day in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s school district still faces stiff financial challenges, but is “without question” in all-around better shape than it was when he arrived five years ago, says Superintendent Jared Rumage.

And as he did at a presentation last week, Rumage is hoping to leverage the narrative of that improvement to win voter approval of a $6.75 million referendum in November.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTERS KEEP FREE Y ACCESS

red bank ymcaThe Red Bank nonprofit says no families of kids now in a free membership program will be turned away. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s volunteer firefighters will get to keep their free memberships to the local YMCA, the organization announced Wednesday.

Police will still have to pay, though now at a discount, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit said. But there’s no change to the plan unveiled last week to end across-the-board free memberships for borough schoolchildren.

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RED BANK: MENNA ‘IRATE’ OVER YMCA ACTION

red bank pasquale mennaRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking at the the Memorial Day ceremony last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Thursday blasted a decision by the Community YMCA to end free memberships for borough schoolchildren and emergency first-responders.

Menna went on the offensive after the Y’s “unilateral” action, which he said was made without any advance notice to or discussion with his administration.

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RED BANK: KIDS, RESPONDERS LOSE FREE YMCA

red bank ymcaThe Red Bank YMCA says affected families can apply for subsidies to replace the free memberships. Below, the letter sent to parents of children in the Healthy Kids program. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank YMCA letter 061919Red Bank’s schoolchildren and emergency first-responders will lose their free access to the borough YMCA in September.

The Maple Avenue nonprofit’s executive director, Katie McAdoo, tells redbankgreen the change was driven by its need to be “accountable” to funders.

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FAIR HAVEN: $15.6M SCHOOLS PLAN UNVEILED

fair haven schools sickles planNew classroom space and other facilities, shown in blue, would be built on a vacant lot adjoining the Sickles School, said Superintendent Sean McNeil, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fair haven schools sean mcneil Fair Haven residents would get classrooms to allow for full-day kindergarten as well as improved security under a $15.6 million plan officials unveiled Wednesday.

The typical homeowner would also get a tax increase of as much as $566 per year if a public referendum on the plan passes muster with voters in September.

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RED BANK: PETER NOBLE DIES

red bank peter nobleFormer Red Bank Board of Education President Peter Noble died Tuesday night. He was 68 years old, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“We lost one of the best last night,” Menna said at the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday evening.

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RED BANK: KNIGHTS DELIVER COATS FOR KIDS

tom wieczerzak, red bank, knights of columbus, coats for kidsTom Wieczerzak with two of the 50 coats delivered to the primary school Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank, nj, done good, Red Bank Primary School nurse Cathy Reardon sees it every winter year, she said: students in threadbare, hand-me-down coats, sometimes a couple of sizes too small.

Beginning immediately, though, those kids will be getting new winter coats for free, thanks to the efforts of the borough-based Knights of Columbus council #525.

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RED BANK: STATE UPHOLDS CHARTER RENEWAL

The charter school’s main building, on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank Charter School does not engage in “segregative” enrollment practices, the New Jersey Department of Education ruled last week in upholding the school’s latest five-year operating charter.

In letter dated April 16 to the charter school, Acting Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet rejected assertions of bias by Fair Schools Red Bank and the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, and found instead that the charter school “is seeking, ‘to the maximum extent practicable,’ to enroll a cross-section of Red Bank Borough’s school-age population.”

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LITTLE SILVER: LAWMAKERS ADDRESS FUNDING

Local residents and school officials, including state Senator Declan O’Scanlon, below, turned out for the event at the Markham Place School. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Dozens of taxpayers and school administrators from the Greater Red Bank Green packed a Little Silver auditorium Wednesday night to press legislators for help with education costs.

 

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RED BANK: CHARTER RESCHEDULES LOTTERY

[UPDATE, January 8, 2018: The enrollment lottery addressed in the announcement below has been rescheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, February 10, with the application deadline now set at 4 p.m. February 9.]

(Press release from the Red Bank Charter Schoo)

Red Bank Charter School (RBCS), a high-achieving, racially and ethnically integrated, tuition-free preK-8 public school, has announced that the deadline for Red Bank families to submit an application for the 2018-19 school year is 4 p.m. on January 10, 2018.

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RED BANK: INKY PROBES SEGREGATION CLAIMS

The Red Bank Charter School on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is the Red bank school district segregated? And if so, is the Red Bank Charter School at fault?

An article published Thursday on philly.com, the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer, probes that question, and whether others among New Jersey’s 88 charter schools are also segregated.

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RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL WINS GYM OK

A rendering of the proposed charter school gym, which wouldn’t have room for bleachers, an architect said. (Rendering by Erick Wagner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Charter School won approval Thursday night to create a gym in part of a commercial building it plans to buy on Monmouth Street.

In the process, the zoning board hearing on the plan re-exposed some long-simmering resentments harbored by parents who contend the charter school’s existence is a drain on the local school district.

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RED BANK: CHARTER, RAYRAP ON AGENDA

A view of 135-137 Monmouth Street as seen through windows at the Red Bank Charter School, its prospective next owner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank zoning board this week takes up two projects that have generated heat in the past, one involving the Red Bank Charter School and the other a townhouse plan by builder Ray Rapcavage.

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RED BANK: CHARTER DATA RELEASE ORDERED

Judy DeHaven, below, claims the Red Bank Charter School “continues to operate without transparency or accountability.” (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The New Jersey Government Records Council earlier this week ordered the Red Bank Charter School to release demographic data it failed to provide to a borough resident under an Open Public Records Act request.

The state agency, acting on a complaint filed by Judy DeHaven, found on Tuesday that the school had unlawfully withheld data showing the breakdown of the student population by grade, gender, race, ethnicity and other factors.

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RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL TO BUY BUILDING

The building, in which the charter school now rents space, has several commercial tenants, and another slated to take the retail space formerly leased by Prown’s Home Improvements. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Charter School plans to buy a commercial building that adjoins its Oakland Street home under a plan approved by the school’s board of trustees Tuesday night.

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FAIR HAVEN: TAXES ON THE TABLE

The February sale of a vacant borough-owned lot on Fisk Street helped keep a lid on property taxes this year, said Administrator Theresa Casagrande.   (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Taxes dominated the Fair Haven council’s semimonthly meeting Monday night, with a borough budget up for adoption and presentations on spending plans by two school districts on the agenda.

Bottom line(s): a drop in the borough levy, a drop in the local school tax, and an increase in the one that funds the regional high school.

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RED BANK: ACLU ENTERS CHARTER BATTLE

CPA Scott Landau turns a drum as business administrator Theresa Shirley looks on during the charter school enrollment lottery last April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The American Civil Liberties Union has joined two other organizations already waging war on the Red Bank Charter School‘s existence.

The ACLU of New Jesey said Thursday that, along with Fair Schools Red Bank and the Latino Coalition of New Jersey , it would appeal the state Department of Education’s decision earlier this week to allow the 19-year-old school to operate for at least another five years.

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RED BANK: CHARTER WINS FIVE MORE YEARS

The Red Bank Charter School campus on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank Charter School is good to go for at least another five years, following an extension of its operating charter announced Wednesday night.

The generally expected renewal comes amid an upswell of tension over the school’s existence, in the form of a pending claim of segregation.

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RED BANK: FEDS TAKE ON ‘SEGREGATION’ CASE

The Red Bank Charter School, on Oakland Street, hotly disputes allegations that the borough schools are “segregated” as a result of its enrollment practices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As requested three months ago by two advocacy groups, the federal Justice Education Department is investigating allegations of segregation leveled at the Red Bank Charter School, correspondence obtained by redbankgreen on Tuesday showed.

The decision by the department’s Office of Civil Rights to open an investigation “in no way implies that the OCR has made a determination with regard to its merit,” a government letter to the complainants said.

But the revelation set off a fresh round of sniping in a bitter battle over the charter school’s existence.

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RED BANK: CHARTER FOES ALLEGE FALSE DATA

rbcs graduation 061516 2Attendees at the charter school’s graduation ceremony in Riverside Gardens Park last June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank Charter School engaged in “outright fabrication” of data used to support its pending request for a five-year charter extension, opponents alleged Thursday.

The purported falsification, concerning the numbers of resident white and Hispanic children who attend private and parochial schools, was used “in a deliberate attempt to mislead the state Department of Education and to perpetuate the myth that the taxpayer-funded 200-student school reflects the pre-K through 8th grade demographics of the community,” according to two groups seeking a shutdown of the school over alleged civil rights issues.

The charter school dismissed the allegations.

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