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Lakehurst School District Opts to Preserve Relationship With Manchester

District decides against further exploring switching to Jackson after working out differences

The Lakehurst School District intends to preserve its sending-receiving relationship with Manchester schools after studying whether to move its students to Jackson.

After a feasibility study and public meetings on the topic, members of the Lakehurst Board of Education announced Tuesday that it has worked out differences with Manchester and will retain the relationship for the foreseeable future.

“Tonight, we’re bringing up our Jackson-Manchester issue that we have been researching. We had a feasibility study done, heard your concerns and questions. We have met with Manchester; they have heard our concerns and questions as well. We have had meetings with them, and they have offered us some new fees,” said board President JoAnn Septor.

“I met with (Superintendent) David Trethaway several times over the course of the month, and Mr. (Barry) Parliman (Lakehurst’s Board Administrator) escorted me on a few of those, when also meeting with their Business Administrator (Craig Lorentzen),” Lakehurst Superintendent Jill Dobrowansky said.

Dobrowansky explained that Manchester schools had proposed to reduce several fees incurred by Lakehurst — such as per pupil amounts, the cost for the resource room used to instruct special education students and transportation costs.

“We are also investigating and starting to consider sharing some services, specifically with snow removal. We currently incur the cost to rent our machines, whenever we have those flakes falling from the sky, which hopefully there won’t be any of for the remainder of the year,” said Dobrowansky.

Board Vice President Kevin Oliver also cited better communication between the districts as a catalyst for the discussions moving forward.

“They’re also opening up the communications that were lacking over the last number of years for the educational concerns between Lakehurst and Manchester,” said Oliver. “We’re also setting up another group that is correlating a lot closer than it was before, as far as the educational tracks of both Lakehurst and Manchester in the elementary and middle schools. So as they transition in, they’re along the same lines.”

Oliver said that he foresaw a better relationship going forward between the two districts, at all levels of staff hierarchy.

Dobrowansky stated that Lakehurst was examining opportunities to bring together middle school teachers from their district and Manchester’s, in order to mutually discuss classroom instruction methods and future educational opportunities for students.

“Also, we’re looking at different times to bring our kids (from Lakehurst and Manchester) together. We know that they participate with one another for some recreational activities, but we feel it’s important to bring them together in their educational settings,” said Dobrowansky.

The superintendent added that Manchester School District personnel would be visiting Lakehurst more frequently to assess what opportunities their students are looking for in high school, and to advise them of academic options they may not yet be aware of.

During the public comment session, a parent inquired to the board as to what to tell her daughter when she returned home from the meeting on the status of the school switch.

“They’re going to Manchester,” said Oliver.

When asked by that same parent whether that was the case for the foreseeable future, Oliver replied affirmatively.

Another parent asked when the contracts with Manchester would be up for renewal once again, and Oliver replied that those contracts are annual.

On the cause for the initial rift between the districts, Oliver explained that it could be “chalked up to a notice of unhappy customer relations.”

Board Administrator Barry Parliman commented that the Lakehurst School District had “enjoyed a good relationship” with the Manchester School District going back many years, and anticipated seeing that relationship continue in the future.

Prior to Tuesday evening’s meeting, the Lakehurst Board of Education had until Dec. 1 to make a decision on whether they wanted to begin the process of changing schools and have it completed for the 2013-14 academic year.

We Own The Night November 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
All this because 1 Lakehurst BOE member had personal issues with some of the faculty in Manchester High School...
April November 21, 2012 at 06:03 PM
We own the night~ Unfortunately, you are incorrect in your statement. One member was not the catalyst for a feasibility study; there were numerous issues that prompted the Lakehurst BOE to evaluate the long-standing relationship. Communication was one of the major issues that justified the study and student achievement was another concern. The recent middle school issue highlighted lack of communication: MTHS didn't notify Lakehurst BOE about the problem and schedule change until well after the public at large. As a customer, your BOE should have been included in the discussion prior to implementation. At the very least, BOE to BOE communication should have occurred. It is our hope that this is resolved with a stronger relationship between the districts. Another issue that was raised by numerous parents was how they felt their freshman were unprepared for the high school environment. We hope to address this issue in the future to ensure the success of our students in the MTHS environment. We have 50 persons registered to begin our new GED program at LES starting on 1/8/13 6-9pm. Those students and their parents have raised many concerns to our administration over the years derived from their time at MTHS and we hope to address their concerns for future students. We are enthused by the response of the public and hope to continue to see such involvement at the board meetings. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
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