Commissioner Dave Hespe ruled late last week that the students of Freehold Borough are not receiving a thorough and efficient education because of overcrowding – authorizing new construction to alleviate the problem. The final ruling requires the Schools Development Authority (SDA) to pick up 100% of the project costs for new additions and allows bonding/debt service for renovations.
The decision affirms an administrative ruling in In the Matter of the Board of Education of the Borough of Freehold, Monmouth County, for an Order Directing the Issuance of Bonds, Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7G-12, Agency Docket No. 42-3/15.
Freehold Borough ended the 2015-2016 school year with 572 more students than it had space to adequately house. The district rents nine classrooms in neighboring Freehold Township and has class sizes that exceed levels set by state regulations. The district has shut down its school libraries to use for classrooms and has reduced educational support programs for lack of fiscal and facility resources.
The decision compels the SDA to work with the district to plan and build necessary facility additions and renovations to meet district requirements. The district will continue its effort to address severe underfunding in state aid in order to bring its operating budget in line with the number and types of students in the district.