WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) is still trying to work out a lease agreement with The Life Christian Church, which would be the site for the township’s preschool if an agreement can be reached soon, according to Jeffrey Rutzky’s superintendent report at Monday’s WOBOE meeting.

“We are very close to an agreement,” said Rutzky. “The goal is to be in the faciliy by Aug. 1, which will give us time to move things over.”

He added that the plan is to have parents come in and see the new preschool in August. According to Rutzky, this facility would enable the preschool program to move out of the Kelly Elementary School, and help alleviate overcrowding in Kelly. It would also allow the Language Learning Disabilities (LLD) classes in the “overcrowded” Gregory and Redwood Elementary Schools to move to the Kelly Elementary School, he said.

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As part of the agreement, Rutzky said he going to receive assurances from the church that no Christian items will be visible when school is in session.

During the questions from the public on agenda items, resident Susan Freivald asked why the preschool plan and move was not dealt with earlier in the year to give families time to adjust to the idea of sending their children to a new school.

Rutzky told Freivald that the timing was contingent on completing the contract with the teachers. He said once the contract was settled, the monies were available to make the preschool possible.

“The facility is brand new, and it’s up to code for state standards for public schools,” said Rutzky, who added that if the preschool does not move in now,  the district could lose the site for good.

To read more about this meeting, where board approved giving $500,000 in state aid back to taxpayers, click HERE