NUTLEY, NJ - As rumors continue to spread throughout the community about the Nutley Public Schools district, local government, the Nutley Public Library, and the Township of Nutley in general, we decided to do a little investigation to find out if any of these stories have legs.
TAPinto Nutley reached out to the Nutley Public Schools district,township leaders, and did a little homework of our own, to separate the rumor from the fact, because, after all, facts matter.
Rumor: The new apartment construction is causing overcrowding in the Nutley Public Schools system.
FACT: While new residents in new construction has led to some new enrollment in the district, the two largest factors that have caused the space situation are all-day kindergarten and state mandates for special education. While both programs have exceeded the expectations of the district in terms of quality of education, they both created the need for more instruction space.
All day kindergarten means that where one room was used by two different classes of children in the past, the need for class space doubled.
With special education, the state mandates how many children can be in a class. So a class that may have had been built for 20 students in 1920, now has less than ten special needs students. In countless BOE presentations, the 'overcrowding' problem was described as not being a fire code issues, it is about available instruction space.
Additionally, the turnover of single family homes has drawn families with children to Nutley. Gene Diaz of Prism told the Nutley Chamber of Commerce last Fall that Nutley is a hot market for real estate. Unlike generations past, where people bought a home then had children, families with children are moving into the district to purchase homes.
At the Tues. Jan. 15 meeting of the Nutley Board of Commissioners, Mauro Tucci presented his White Paper "The Effect of Multi-Family Housing on Nutley NJ" According to the report, in 2017 "The total amount of district students actually increased by twenty-four but were not generated from multi-family units."
Rumor: The Pledge of Allegiance is not said everyday in Nutley Public Schools.
FACT, or Alternative Fact: Ths is actually a true statement. The key word here is "everyday." The pledge is said every day in which school is in session. It is not said in Nutley Public Schools on weekends, holidays, summer vacation or during school breaks, so, it is true that the Pledge of Allegiance is not said every day.
Rumor: People are leaving New Jersey because of high taxes and government regulation.
FACT: More residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8% of New Jersey moves being outbound, according to United Van Lines’ 42nd annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year.
The Garden State moved up one spot on the outbound list to No. 1 and has has ranked in the top 10 for the past decade. The primary reasons cited for moving out of New Jersey were job change (34.73%), retirement (34.51%), lifestyle (17.36%), health (6.15%), according to the United Van Lines study.
Rumor: The Nutley Public Library is getting a large addition, including a kitchen, soon.
FACT: TAPinto Nutley reached out to Nutley Public Library Director Maria Labadia to find out about the rumors of construction. Labadia replied "it would be nice," but there are no plans. It is believed that the rumor may have started after someone overheard a conversation about what people would like to see happen for the library if they won the Powerball.
Rumor: Nutley Public Schools are filled with hundred of students from other towns, they are bussed in all the time, "I seen it with my own eyes."
FACT: According to Nutley Public School District Communication Director Karen Greco, "Residency checks are done annually at the district level - we focus on two grades per year. All new students' residency is verified before
The school busses from other districts at Nutley High School were most likely related to visiting sports teams. Nutley High School's culinary program also hosted a "Chopped Championship" with students from other districts.
Rumor: No one has looked at where all these new kids in our schools are coming from, houses, apartments.
FACT: The Nutley Public School District conducts somewhat regular demographer studies. These studies pinpoint where the students are coming from and can forecast the rate of enrollment for upcoming years. The last survey was done in 2016 and another is in the works. People who attended the town hall meetings about the school construction referendums were presented with information from the demographers report. The report was referenced in countless public meetings held by the district. Single family home turnover was the primary source of new students.
Rumor: Crime is out of control in Nutley - just look at the Police Blotter!
FACT: Crime is down in Nutley. At the Tues. Jan. 15 Board of Commissioners meeting, Public Safety Director Alphonse Petracco reported that crime during the holiday season, package theft in particular, was down. He attributed it largely to increased patrols.
The Nutley Police Department police blotter has caused some confusion among residents. Since 2016, TAPinto Nutley has been the only news organization to publish the complete blotter, not just the headline grabbing stories. Publishing the blotter in its entirely, every week, has led some residents to speculate that crime is up. The speculation is incorrect.
Rumor: Nutley Public Schools are falling by every measure.
FACT: PARCC scores are up. SAT scores are up. And in the recent statewide ranking of NJ Public Schools by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Nutley Schools jumped 20 places since the last report in 2016.
Related article. Among NJ Best Public High Schools Nutley High School Jumps 20 Points
Rumor: Full day Kindergarten and the Autism program were added just before the recent school construction referendum.
FACT: Full day Kindergarten was implemented in the district in September 2010, it was planned well before that school year began. By having what was a half day program, grow to full day, the need for kindergarten class space in the elementary schools doubled.
According to Nutley Public Schools Communication Director Karen Greco, "Our Autism program, which began in the district in 2007, has expanded to serve more students, thus requiring more space. Parents and families have moved to Nutley, specifically to have access to our special education programs and offerings. As reported in the above FACT points including Commissioner Tucci's White Paper and the Demographer's Report, these new students are coming primarily from new homeowners, not renters.
Rumor: The school district eliminated Freshman sports at Nutley High School anymore.
FACT: Freshman and Sophomores play together in a sub-varsity program. School districts across the state are using a similar model for their high school sports. This topic has been discussed and reported several times.
Rumor: The Red Cross Building is empty
FACT: The "Red Cross Building" has been a part of Nutley Family Service Bureau for several years, ever since the Red Cross consolidated operations and closed several suburban locations including Chestnut St. in Nutley and Park St. in Montclair. The "Red Cross Building" houses NFSB's food pantry operation, and will shortly be the new home of the Nutley Family Service Bureau Thrift Shop.
FACTS vs Rumor will be a somewhat regular feature of TAPinto Nutley.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley, and is a member of the New Jersey Press Association. The Nutley Board of Commissioners made TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' starting in 2019.
Got a news tip? email us at Nutley@TAPinto.net