SUMMIT, NJ - With the onset of the 2015-16 school year just over two weeks away, the Summit School District has sent a series of communications to parents regarding important issues affecting high schoolers and elementary school students.
In an e-mail to parents, Summit High School Principal Paul Sears reviewed the ongoing traffic and parking challenges facing the school and the neighboring community. Citing dramatically increased enrollment and teaching staff, the elimination of neighborhood parking due to ordinances limiting parking to two hours, and state laws that limit the number of students that can travel in a car driven by a probationary licensed driver, Sears noted the situation has necessitated a number of action steps, including:
  • The formation of a Traffic and Parking Safety task force
  • The request and addition of police officers to assist in directing traffic
  • Request that the Board of Education investigate additional on-site parking
Sears added that the closing of the Morris Avenue bridge, which has resulted in the utilization of Kent Place Boulevard as a detour route, will serve to exacerbate the challenge.
As result of what Sears termed "this additional stress on the area roads," the Principal highlighted the following plans and request of the school community:
  • The revision of the student parking plan to include the use of shared spaces, and the implementation of a geographic radius wherein students -- due to proximity -- will not be offered parking.
  • The allowance of late entry for seniors who have unassigned study and other students who have study hall to begin their school day.
  • The on-site parking site assessment is moving forward with the support of the Board of Education.
  • Reminding students that the school opens before 7 a.m., has a breakfast meal service, and has the earliest start time of any District school.

Sears then listed a series of action steps for parents and students, designed to keep students and motorists safe, as well as to facilitate the flow of school traffic:

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  • Do not drop off students in the middle of a road or drive.
  • Ensure students exit on the sidewalk side of the vehicle.
  • Have students cross the streets with the assistance of a crossing guard or police officer.
  • Do not make K- or U-Turns on Kent Place Boulevard.
  • Pull into the school drive as far as possible before drop off.
  • Arrive early due to increased traffic.
  • As instruction begins at 7:45 a.m., arrive by 7:35 a.m., at the latest.

In a separate e-mail communication, Superintendent of Schools June Chang updated parents regarding the ongoing construction projects at Franklin and Jefferson Elementary Schools.

Stating that, "we look forward to completion of both projects," Chang said that the projects are "in the final stages." Going on to say that, "while we are still optimistic for timely completion, we must prepare for the possibility that temporary, short-term arrangements may be required for us to safely and effectively serve all students and staff beginning on September 8."

Chang relayed that he has established a committee, consisting of central office administrators, principals, and supervisors, to create a contingency plan should either Franklin or Jefferson not be ready for opening on September 8.

The Superintendent concluded by saying that he would provide an update August 30, with a contingency plan, should it be necessary.