Livingston’s public schools are full and will become even more crowded with the addition of new housing developments, said Superintendent Brad Draeger Wednesday morning at the first of two public forums the district is holding in advance of a building referendum that voters will decide on March 12.
The district seeks to relieve crowded conditions, and to bring the high school into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The second forum will take place on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Riker Hill School.
At Wednesday's forum, Draeger, the Board Administrator Steven Robinson, and the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Lawrence Russell outlined the $15.1 million dollar plan. The proposal would see three new library/media centers built. The spaces previously used for the libraries would become classrooms; in total, the district would see 14 additional elementary classrooms.
Schools are already running at or near capacity, according to Draeger, and that is before the completion of new housing in Livingston. The new developments are likely to bring at least 130 and perhaps as many as 250 students into the district. “I don’t see any relief in the near future,” said Draeger.
At the same time, say district administrators, more space would allow Livingston special education students options for staying in the district. Currently the district sends 130 students to out-of-district placements. More classrooms would allow the district to offer students identified in coming years the chance to be educated in their “home” schools.
Members of the public asked about present and future technology needs in the elementary school libraries. Currently, said the superintendent, students rely on some desktop computers in the libraries, as well as on laptop carts. Those are not ideal, explained Draeger. Among other problems, the batteries don’t hold a charge throughout the school day. District second graders learn keyboarding, in addition to using computers for research and writing. The proposed plans would allow for more computer access for students.
“We think this is the right thing at the right time,” said the superintendent.
The vote will be taken on March 12, 2013, from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. More info is here.