Categorized | Editorial

The New High School: Where Should It Be?

This has been one hot topic that has been going on for years. The present High School located on Eagle Avenue has been overcrowded for a very long time and the only solution is to have a new High School.

There have been two locations that have been talked ab out for building a new school: one would be the Delaney Homes on Convery Boulevard which recently had twenty of the twenty-nine buildings demolished. Some of the ideas that were tossed around for that vacant land were businesses located there with residential apartments on top.

The Celotex Property which is located on the intersections of Convery Boulevard and Smith Street is the other site. There have been back and forth discussions as to whether or not the Celotex Property is contaminated and if there are contaminants how severe is the problem? The Celotex Property has also been very controversial because of an archeological dig that was supposed to take place last year. Also that property is privately owned and the property owner has expressed interest in the archeological aspect of the site.

School Board Member Israel Varela is very gung-ho about the High School being built at the Celotex Property. There are 75 acres of Celotex Property and it should be probed to see what part of that land can be used for a school.

Others have an expressed an interest in Delaney Homes Property. Councilman Fernando Gonzalez who is also a Commissioner of the Housing Authority states that there is still a possibility that the Authority can sell some of the Delaney Homes Property to the Board of Education to build a High School. The Delaney Homes is owned by the Federal Government and that is one sticking point to having a new High School built there.

In about 90 days from 3/28/12 the Housing Authority may be willing to discuss selling that property to the Board of Education. Fernando Gonzalez said that Executive Director of the Housing Authority Doug Dzema should be in on discussions about the High School being built on the Delaney Homes Property. He invited the public to attend all Housing Authority Meetings.

Jeanette Gonzalez who is the parent liaison to the PTO has a petition circulating and a letter of support to be forwarded to the SDA (Schools Development Authority). This is to make them aware that the whole town is behind Perth Amboy getting a new high school. She also stated that there is a six month time line where the SDA to have shovels in the ground if this is to go forward.

At the Board of Education Meeting 3/29/12 local resident Stanley Sierakowski told those in attendance, “They should put in an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request to the Department of EPA in regards to the Celotex Property. All you have to do is fill out the information what the lot and block number is. Once you have that information, submit the form to the EPA and ask for the latest data on the Celotex Property (in regards to any contaminants).”

At previous School Board Meetings speakers have told the Board Members that a new High School had been discussed when their children were freshmen in high school. Now those freshmen are sophomores in college. In those six years nothing has been done about a High School.

In the meantime Perth Amboy’s student population has continued to grow. When a new High School is finally finished let’s hope it will not be so far off in the future that the new school cannot accommodate the increased growth of the student population of Perth Amboy.

The Board of Education should decide what it wants to do. Zero in on one location.

Get the reports done on both properties. Get what needs to be done. In the meantime those properties remain vacant for now. The City needs ratable’s and each week that passes by you may have people coming into the City looking to develop those properties. In the blink of an eye there may no longer be the Delaney Homes or Celotex Properties available. And you will be back to square one.

Four years from now you don’t want someone coming to speak at a Board of Education Meeting saying, “I remember in 2012 when they talked about building a new High School.” And it still has not been built.

 

C.M. & K.M.

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