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Montrose School Will Reopen For Special Education Students

The South Orange school will be closed this year

The Montrose School will reopen in 2013 as a school for special education students. South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education President Beth Daugherty annouced on Monday night that the school, closed this year, would be renovated and then reopen. Part of that work will include a new parking lot.

"Whether we lease it or do it [special education programming] in-district is a decision we still need to make," said Daugherty.

She spoke in response to Jennifer Cicenia's questions about why the school is going ahead with construction of a new parking lot -- scheduled to begin in October -- when there has been no announced purpose for the building.

Cicenia noted that neighbors of the school, such as herself, had "almost no notice" of the proposed parking lot before the South Orange Planning Board meeting where it was discussed. The parking lot plans call for the removal of three trees. The lot will be on the right side of the building.

"What is the point of doing work," asked Cicenia, "when there has been no purpose for the school, at least nothing we've been told."

The Montrose Alternative Program moved out of the building in June.

Cicenia worried that the school won't be well cared for. "It's very messy back there," she said, referring to the abandoned community garden.

Daugherty said the district will continue to maintain the building and grounds while work is done this year.

Claire King September 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM
We are new here, so don't know the history, but why go back to the segregation of the past?
irene dunsavage September 26, 2012 at 01:02 PM
The garden was abandoned because the BOE would not grant permission to use it - despite neighbors who wanted it there for it's use as a garden The BOE would only say that the property was being developed and that during that time other use would be halted.There was no explanation at all. I question the sequence of the land's development- last year they resurfaced an area for staff parking. Now they are putting in a lot for any group that MAY use the site. Completely arbitrary decsions... First know what you are doing - then develop the land. In the meantime a garden would not have interfered with anything. Nothing went on this summer at the site- hundreds of residents, seniors and needy could have benefited from a garden.Instead the ground was left unused and unproductive....there is no understanding of how we learn and grow in mind and body in gardens.Hopefully we will move towards a more enlightened perception one day and feeding folks who are hungry and those who need good nutrition . Contradictions are in place - they embrace a Nutrition program but don't allow space to be used for growing that nutrition... somewhere a basic connection needs to be made.
Morrisa da Silva September 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I believe the plans are to have a program (not specified) that will allow the district bring some students back to the district that are currently in out of district programs. Mainstreaming will still be in place but has not been an option for all special ed students and having students in out of district programs is quite costly.
Anne September 26, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I have to agree Irene on the garden issue. Such a waste! Perfectly good land ready for growing food. I hope that with the new students in the school they will allow volunteers from the surrounding community to contribute and use the garden again.

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