Q: Why are the Nutley Public Schools overcrowded?
A: There is not just one reason why our buildings are overcrowded. The overcrowding is not about our enrollment, but rather the capacity of our classrooms and buildings. Capacity, as defined in the 2017 Town Hall meetings by Superintendent Dr. Glazer, “is not the fire code occupancy, but the available space for the effective delivery of instruction.” Here are several reasons why we have reached our capacity:
The Shrinking Schoolhouse – New Jersey State regulations and mandates have changed over time. Districts have more requirements, which require more space. Programs like Strategies (our mathematics and language arts intervention programs), Speech, English as a Second Language, and other state-mandated programs require classrooms and/or small group instruction space. In addition, our special education services and programs continue to grow. Our Autism program 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.
Full Day Kindergarten – Full Day Kindergarten has served the community well since its implementation in September 2010. This program, which benefits both our students and families, requires space within each elementary school for its execution.
Housing Shift – There has been a shift in town from one-family occupancy to apartments, town homes, and condos. As an example, in 2005, Cambridge Heights sent 71 students to the Nutley Public Schools. In 2017, Cambridge Heights sent 157 students to the public schools. During the last five years, we have seen a large number of single family homes sold in Nutley. As these single family homes were sold, many were purchased by young families or couples starting their families in Nutley. Based on the demographer’s information and report, we see these students coming into the district and this referendum addresses this need.