At Monday's meeting of the South Orange Board of Trustees, South Mountain School parents asked -- once again -- for access to the South Orange pool. In response, the Board of Trustees granted South Orange families more guest passes, effective immediately, so residents can bring Maplewood friends to the pool.
It was not the response the parents had hoped for. “I’m extremely disappointed with the direction this project has taken,” said Lisa Fellen, South Mountain parent.
South Mountain School has a student body that is roughly 90 percent South Orange residents, and about ten percent Maplewood residents. South Mountain parents who are Maplewood residents note that the summer can be "difficult" for their children, who aren't able to socialize and swim with their school friends. Currently, the South Orange pool issues passes only to residents.
A group of South Mountain parents has been asking the trustees to consider issuing passes to those families affected, and have spoken out at previous board meetings. Under plans proposed by the parents, those families would pay the full price. Alternate plans proposed include the possibility of "Twilight Swim" passes, where South Mountain families could pay a reduced fee for partial-day pool access.
Trustees agreed to raise the limit on guest passes from 20 to 50 for a season, which would allow resident families to bring guests more often. They also agreed to contact Maplewood officials to propose a reciprocal arrangement that would allow South Orange residents to use the Maplewood pool.
Other parents agreed with Fellen that the cost of individual guest passes is prohibitive, and doesn't allow for spontaneous gatherings at the pool.