The three Gloucester Township middle schools may soon discontinue providing summer classes for failing students under a proposal introduced during the Board of Education’s meeting Monday night at the district’s administration building.
The funds usually set aside for the classes would be shifted to the development of summer programs for the elementary schools.
Middle school students usually fail classes because of incomplete work, not because they are struggling, Superintendent of Schools John Bilodeau said.
Students must pass mathematics and language arts to move onto high school. Therefore, if a student fails one of these requirements, they must take an online course during the summer to gain the necessary credits.
At the end of the course, the student must visit their appropriate school to take a final test under the supervision of a teacher.
This online course would be paid out of pocket by the student’s parents. Multiple board members reiterated that the Gloucester Township Public Schools handbook states nothing about being financially responsible for potential summer classes.
The Gloucester Township Public School district was one of the few districts in New Jersey that provided summer classes for failing students. Children from as far as Vineland commuted to the middle schools in 2013.
The board will vote on the proposal at its next scheduled meeting on April 28.
Other items discussed during Monday night’s meeting included:
* A 2009 Blue Bird school bus has been purchased for $42,500 from the Morris Plains Board of Education. This is the first time in the history of the Gloucester Township Public School District that a used school bus has been purchased, according to Bilodeau.
* On April 28, the board will vote on whether to purchase two special needs vans. These vans cost about $90,000 less than two small school buses. These buses must be outfitted for specs, such as red and yellow lights and safety precautions. These vans would be utilized because even the small school buses can’t fit in some cul de sacs. Each van would be approximately $35,000-$40,000 according to Bilodeau
* Ray Evans Emergency Management applied for two grants. One application is for a $60,000 grant for an emergency generator at the Charles W. Lewis Middle School, as it is an official place of emergency. A 150-kilowatt generator is needed to power the library with air conditioning, freezers in the kitchen, lights in the cafeteria, and district computers and phones. It would cost about $110,000, meaning the board would have to chip in about $50,000.