Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is calling on the board of education, along with NJCU, to come up with a long-term plan for A. Harry Moore – a special needs school for students of all ages – in light of an announcement that as many as 20 staffers may be cut.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“After being blindsided with the news regarding additional layoffs at the A. Harry Moore School that was sent to faculty yesterday, February 6th, I am deeply concerned,” Fulop wrote in a letter sent to Jersey City BOE President Lorenzo Richardson today.
“The actions by both the Board of Education and NJCU are contrary to the first meeting we had when the A. Harry Moore issue arose. As I have repeatedly asked both parties over the last few months, and I will ask you yet again: What is your plan as the first steps need to be taken by the BOE?”
In September, NJCU, who is in charge of running the A. Harry Moore school, announced that the facility would cease operations on June 30th, 2020, the end of the current scholastic year after a partial roof collapse.
However, after a public outcry, NJCU reneged on their plans and were working on a five-year agreement with the BOE that would keep the school open through 2025 – which appeared to be trending in the right direction after the school board approved a number of related items in November.
However, it appears that plan has since hit a snag as it is yet to be finalized by NJCU.
In his letter, Fulop indicated that the situation can’t wait any longer and recommended that the BOE sell off the former Public School No. 3 in order to pay for renovations at A. Harry Moore – their students were relocated to Gerard J. Dynes Regional Day School five months ago.
“My strong recommendation is that the Board of Education partner with the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority (JCRA) to sell the old PS3, using the one-time revenues from the sale to match the one-time costs of the renovation at A. Harry Moore,” the mayor wrote.
“The market value of the old PS3 is certainly more than the engineering assessment for full renovations of A. Harry Moore. A timeline can then be set to return the children back to the completely renovated A. Harry Moore facility. The BOE leadership has already indicated there are alternate locations within the district to relocate the Renaissance Program, and this coupled with the Cityâ€™s commitment that we would be willing to help expedite funds, if
the funds were guaranteed by an asset like this PS3 building.”
Citing waning enrollment, NJCU President Sue Henderson said in an email to A. Harry Moore parents yesterday that the current plan called for 12 to 20 staffers to be eliminated in the 2020-2021 scholastic year.
NJCU and Jersey City BOE officials did not immediately return requests seeking comment.