Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Vying over Use of Newest Schools

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Vying over Use of Newest Schools

Article excerpt

PATERSON - With two new schools set to open in September, city education officials are struggling to decide which children will be assigned to the state-of-the-art buildings.

Some officials want the district to shift two special programs created last year - an all-boys academy and a school for immigrants - to the new buildings. Both of the programs now operate in buildings that officials agree are substandard: the all-boys academy is in an old church on Smith Street, and Newcomers is in what used to be School 11, a rundown structure that's more than 100 years old.

But school officials said putting those special programs in the new schools would take up classroom space for children who live in those neighborhoods. The new schools were built to alleviate overcrowding that forced students from those areas to be bused to buildings in other parts of the city.

"There's got to be a middle ground," school board President Christopher Irving said at a meeting on Wednesday night. "We have to find some sort of compromise. I don't think everybody is going to get what they want in this scenario."

The new School 16, at 22nd Avenue and East 20th Street, will be three stories high and 109,000 square feet when it's complete, with a capacity of about 700 students, officials said.

The new Hani Awadallah School, at Hazel and Marshall streets, will be a two-story building of 110,000 square feet and a capacity of 650, officials said.

The Newcomers program has about 300 students. The all-boys academy has about 50, but it is expected to expand with the addition of one grade a year.

The district is weighing three options for the new schools:

* The boys' academy would stay at Smith Street, the Newcomers program would remain in School 11 and the new schools would serve students from their neighborhoods.

* The boys' academy would move to Awadallah school and the Newcomers program would be split between the new School 16 and the New Roberto Clemente School. …

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