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port monmouth elementary schoolPHOTO: Port Monmouth Elementary School

Dear Middletown Township school community,

Today I am informing you about our proposal for the consolidation of Port Monmouth and New Monmouth Elementary Schools. Students projected to attend Port Monmouth during the 2020-2021 school year along with the New Monmouth students would create a new community of learners at New Monmouth Elementary School.

Although declining enrollment and a reduction in state aid have created the opportunity for the consolidation of these two schools, budgetary benefits are merely a positive byproduct of a proposal driven by the educational, social and emotional well-being of all students involved. Consolidation of the schools provides greater opportunities for inclusion, social-emotional learning, and the development of interpersonal skills and peer-to-peer relationships. Currently, there is one section of second grade and one section of third grade at Port Monmouth Elementary School. This significantly limits these learners’ opportunities to socialize and grow academically during their elementary school experience.

Port Monmouth Elementary School is 92 years old. The school’s educational and common spaces, such as the gymnasium/cafeteria, do not have the capacity or other essential components of an optimal learning environment. Our new five-year facilities plan identifies more than $3.7 million in maintenance for Port Monmouth Elementary School. Even with a multi-million dollar financial commitment, it would be difficult to implement state educational mandates and district initiatives at Port Monmouth. New Monmouth Elementary School is the District’s newest elementary facility with the most recent, substantial renovations. This proposal would fully maximize the New Monmouth School facility.

Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, through our ongoing strategic planning process, we have solicited feedback from our entire school community and greater Middletown Township community. We received approximately 10,000 written responses to a district survey launched in September, and additional feedback during more than 11 hours of comments at seven public forums. The community overwhelmingly requested that priority be placed on reducing class sizes, especially at the elementary level.

Simultaneously, the administrative team has been developing the 2020-2021 budget, a process that has been guided by the community’s recent input, including the call for lower class sizes. This proposal will help attain the goal of maintaining lower and more consistent class sizes across the district.

Each day the Board of Education, district administrative team and I operate with the intention of providing our students with the best educational programs and services and delivering them in the most equitable and efficient manner. There are several opportunities for community members to provide feedback on this proposal over the next two weeks as outlined below. We welcome your feedback. A webpage with additional information on the consolidation proposal is available for the community.

Tuesday, Feb. 18 - Staff meetings at Port Monmouth and New Monmouth immediately after school. Meetings with parent organization leadership will take place immediately after staff meetings.


Wednesday, Feb. 19 - School Consolidation Discussion, 7 p.m. at New Monmouth Elementary School
Thursday, Feb. 20 - Dr. George will be at Port Monmouth Elementary School during A.M. drop-off hours
Thursday, Feb. 20 - Dr. George will be at Port Monmouth Elementary School during P.M. pickup hours
Friday, Feb. 21 - Dr. George will be at Port Monmouth Elementary School during A.M. drop-off hours
Monday, Feb. 24 – School Consolidation Public Presentation, 7 p.m. at New Monmouth Elementary School
Wednesday, Feb. 26 - School Consolidation Proposal Presentation at Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m. at High School North
Wednesday, March 4 - Board action on consolidation proposal at Board of Education Budget meeting


Sincerely,
William O. George III, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools