Reorganization of Elementary and Middle School?

What does this mean, possible reorganization of Elementary and Middle School? What now?

tabletop
Sep '14

They want to make Hatchery Hill k-2 and Willow Grove 3-5.

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

I'd want to hear the pluses and minuses, but that sounds like it would be a good decision.


I think unless the town is going to provide busing, this would be a traffic nightmare. Just because we are a walking district doesn't mean it would be feasible to have a kid from Collegeview or Kenwood walk all the way to Willow Grove. Or having a kid from Brook Hollow walk all the way to Hatchery. Can't imagine parents that have kids at both Hatchery and Willow Grove dropping kids off at both schools in the am. The drive from one side of town to the other would be a mess.

Nancy Nancy
Sep '14

The reorganization includes the middle school too - not sure what. If busing provided our taxes will surely go up.

Kate S. Kate S.
Sep '14

Great point Nancy! Most families have multiple kids and they're usually a couple yrs apart so you could easily have 1 going to Hatchery and 1 going to Willow Grove. It would be a nightmare in the morning and afternoon picking them up across town. I have 1 in K and 1 in 2nd couldn't imagine next yr having to drop off/ pick up them from different schools at the same time

Darwin Darwin
Sep '14

I guess if they want to make Willow 3-5, that would take gr. 5 out of middle school...and you're right, going back and forth across town would be a nightmare...
guess we'll have to attend the meeting to what the heck else they are going to do....too much going on at once IMO

tabletop
Sep '14

Ask the parents in GM in this situation. They race from school to school to pick up their kids! Not to mention, the unsafe practice of the buses speeding to make it to both schools before heading out on the neighborhood routes.

Ping pong
Sep '14

That's why I wanted to hear about the pluses and minuses. I didn't think about the traffic when you have kids in multiple schools. That alone would make me against this. As far as buses go, I don't know where we'd get the money for that.


I think there a lot more pluses than minuses --- the big minus would be busing, but that's not really a big deal. For a lot of parents that would be a plus since the kids would be off to school earlier and they can get on the road to work earlier. And the reverse for coming home. That 15 - 30 min is huge for a lot of people and their jobs.

In the long run I think it would save the district money in not having to build and having all of the grades consolidated you could have less classrooms. I did love having my girls having really small class sizes, but economically it didn't make sense to me.

I would think special needs kids would be better off too, I think they've been consolidated already, but then everyone else would be too.

Another beautiful thing is the schools are identical construction, so the kids should have a comfort level knowing where everything is.

The big thing would be that all of the kids would be on the same level going into the Middle School - I know the curriculum is the same but from what I hear the HH kids were ahead in language and the WG kids were ahead in math. My guess is that's why GM did it.

Comparing GM - our schools are so much closer together and we don't bus the Middle School, so we wouldn't have that issue.

To me all of the changes are ultimately for the better for our kids, so it makes sense to me.

And I know I've said it before -- When I was a kid, I had no idea who the administrators were, my main influence was my classroom teachers. We are fortunate to have wonderful teachers at every level. and when I was a kid, my mom said 'you're going to this school' and that was it --- I went to 3 different grade schools, because that's what needed to happen.

For the most part the kids will like it because more of their TSA/Recreation friends will be with them too.

trekster3- trekster3-
Sep '14

Whether you agree or disagree with this possibility, we need as many parents, teachers and community members present to express these pros and cons so spread the word!!!!

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

I understand there is "new blood" in the entire Hackettstown school system this year but this is getting ridiculous! I understand everyone has their own ideas and they think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. As a parent who has lived here for my whole life. 30+ years I am happy with the way things have been. Don't try and fix something that isn't broken simply to make a name for yourself.

resident resident
Sep '14

I chose this town because it was a walking district, class sizes and because the kids don't have to change schools too many times. I do plan on attending the meeting Wednesday and do not like the idea of reorganization. It sounds like a nightmare to me.

Njchia Njchia
Sep '14

Most of you are focusing on this being done to waste money or just because it's a big shot's idea. However, have any of you considered that this could be in response to the changes in curriculum and testing going on around the state and country? Some districts are making changes because it allows them to handle the ridiculous mandates easier. Remember, sometimes thr changes are reactionary.

btownguy btownguy
Sep '14

I vaguely remember reading a study where student growth was measured. One of the findings was that growth was smaller in the first year in a new building, such as middle schoo, high school, etc, as children made the adjustment to a new environment. I will have to see if I can find any updated info.
I have also heard the argument that when you join grade levels, schools can often save because they can consolidate classes in some grade levels and reduce the number of teachers. I can't imagine that would be much of a savings here, even if they could cut one at each grade level, that is only a few salaries.


Hey, here is a crazy idea. How about we find out what the plan is before we trash it.

I know it's insanity to think that maybe the plan might be a good one and that the plan makers may know things we don't or have once ounce of ability to do their jobs, but hey, it could happen!


I thought that there was talk of "moving the line" for the elementary schools, therefore making the enrollment levels more even at HH and WG? Seems that this would be a less expensive option than redistricting as well as busing the kids.


So Bac...you're ok with dedicated and caring teachers losing their jobs?

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

With all of the changes being made to curriculum and standardized testing, I see it as a positive - having all of the same grade in the same building means the grade level teachers will be working together and everyone will be at the same place when they move to the next school, whether it be middle or high school.

Htown Resident Htown Resident
Sep '14

Concernedparent, stop being sensationalist. If there are smaller classes for one grade at one school than at another, it makes sense to consolidate and utilize facilities as completely as possible. Additionally, while it could mean a loss of a class(es) at a certain grade level, there is the possibility that there could be more created at another, thus providing teachers a job but with a different grade level. So there is a possibility that no jobs will be lost.

btownguy btownguy
Sep '14

Concerned parent, not at all! My point was that the savings would not be nearly enough to use as a justification!


All I will say is that the school board is going to do what ever they reguardless wht the general public has to say

Caged Animal Caged Animal
Sep '14

Not being a sensationalist...being realistic based on what Bac said..."I have also heard the argument that when you join grade levels, schools can often save because they can consolidate classes in some grade levels and reduce the number of teachers. I can't imagine that would be much of a savings here, even if they could cut one at each grade level, that is only a few salaries." Yes, I agree there's a chance they won't lose jobs, but be relocated to another grade/level. There's also the chance some will lose their jobs especially with the popularity of outsourcing nowadays on top of consolidating classes.

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

Cutting teacher payroll would save a minimum of $50,000. (Note: I am not pro or con on cutting teachers as I am not privy to the many ramifications.)

I am in favor of a Zero increase in our overall budget. The Board and administration must consider the economic straights of many in our community. What about a 1% reduction across the entire budget? Everyone can do with 1% less!


if staff efficiencies can be realized that results in budget savings then consolidation of our local elementary schools is a good management practice.

looks like that was part of the decision tree out in GM

BrotherDog BrotherDog
Sep '14

So does adding busing equate to higher taxes?

Darrin Darrin
Sep '14

Where are they going to stick any more kids in Willow Grove. Our school has 100 more students then Hatchery.

pitbullover4life pitbullover4life
Sep '14

Keep approving apartments and fill schools to the max is the name of the game

Darrin Darrin
Sep '14

My big question is where will everyone park at WG. WG already has added another 3 grade. we lack crossing guards now for kids to walk to school are they going to add more for walking kids? I see my taxes going caching even more

pitbullover4life pitbullover4life
Sep '14

I have three daughters....two of them are 5 years apart and my youngest is 4 years apart from my middle daughter and for the last 19 years, I have had at least two of my daughters in two different schools at the same time. There was only one year that two of them were in the same school. At one point, all three of them were in different schools....one at Willow Grove, one at the Middle School and one at the high school. Talk about a nightmare!!!! It would take me sometimes more than a half hour to get all three of them to school. I am so glad that my youngest is now a freshman and this "reorganization" will not affect me.
Sorry to all of you who this will have an impact on if it goes through.

catlover1 catlover1
Sep '14

I at one time had kids in 3 schools! I had no problem taking my kids and was never late! Yeah it took a 1/2 hour. That's nothing to me........

Lets wait and see what they propose before we all jump to conclusions. I agree though no more increase in the budget!!

Christine Christine
Sep '14

So, I currently don't have a strong opinion (or a school-aged child), but a few things come to mind.

--It seems as though there is a population misalignment where more schoolchildren live on the WG side of town than the HH side of town. Reorganizing the schools could serve to redistribute an equal number of students to each school (provided k-2 and 3-5 numbers are equivalent).

--Removing a grade from the Middle school would alleviate space issues at that school, and potentially increase the lifespan of that building. I am sure most people would agree that building a new school would be an expensive venture for taxpayers, and taking steps to stave off that necessity for a few years is not necessarily a bad thing.

--In terms of transportation issues, I see the Brook Hollow to HH and College View to WG potentially creating different traffic patterns in the morning. That is not to say that the traffic would be worse, but they could be different.

--A question - How many K-4 students currently walk to school? I would think that, particularly in this day and age, that the vast majority of students are getting driven to school anyway.

--It does not seem to me that the student to teacher ratio would change UNLESS part of the plan is to consolidate students in each grade into fewer classes in their new school. If there are currently four 4th grade teachers (2 WG/2 HH) for 100 4th grade students (made up numbers), then you could still have four 25-student classes at one school instead of two 25-student classes at each school.

--Regarding consolidation (i.e., contraction of teachers), a realignment COULD allow the district more flexibility in staffing. I do not ever wish anyone to lose their job, but by having students in the same grade in one location, increasing class size (and reducing teacher head count) becomes easier logistically.

--Socially, it was always interesting to me (I went to WG in the early 90s) that there were students that I knew from sports that I would not go to school with until 5th grade. In fact, my neighbor and best friend grew up across the street from me, but he went to HH and I went to WG (we lived on Mountain Ave for those of you trying to figure out the logistics). Back then, we were introduced to the Hatchery Hillbillies in 5th grade, the Independence kids in 7th grade, and then the Liberty and Allamuchy students Freshman year. Grouping students early on and keeping them together until high school would eliminate at least some of that injection of new students. Not sure if that is good or bad.

--It is already amazing to me that our taxes don't pay for some sort of school transportation. However, it seems like busing in a town this small could be more trouble than its worth, both logistically and financially.


Did anybody go to this meeting? No sitter means I couldn't go, but I'd love to know what was discussed.

ImOnSaxton ImOnSaxton
Sep '14

In a nutshell...something needs to be done about the overcrowding issue in the schools so they need to come up with a plan on how to reorganize. There will be another meeting 11/4 and many people requested more information on the cost of it all. Based on the Strategic Planning meetings last year, no one seemed to like the idea of a k-8 school nor do many people want busing (which by the way would cost $22,000 per bus for 54 children). Schools will remain the same next year however.

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

Just curious, which buildings are overcrowded? Do they still want a k-2 building and a 3-5? Wouldn't that add to the total students in the two elementary schools? This would lead one to conclude that the middle school is overcrowded, which I have heard is not the case at all.


I heard Willow Grove is overcrowded and Hatchery has room to space, which I think would explain the grade separations.

Jazzykatt Jazzykatt
Sep '14

As concernedparent mentioned they are still just at the idea gathering stage. They made it clear at the BOE meeting on Wednesday they need to do something but are just throwing ideas out there and gauging the community's response.

Some of the ideas are going to grade based schooling vs. a neighborhood school. Which may or may not need to add busing at $22k per 54kids per yr.

Other idea is to sell Willow and Middle school and build Hatchery up to be a K-8

I think simply changing the dividing lines might be the easiest solutions. Instead of using Main St/ Mountain Ave as the dividing line as to who goes to Willow and who goes to Hatchery (East/West) change the alignment to a north/south of town. Or add a section that goes to Willow to now go to Hatchery. I don't think a major overhaul is needed.

But I encourage everyone to go to the next Strategic Planning meeting on 11/4

darwin darwin
Sep '14

I was at the meeting and I have two kids in the elementary school. One of the contributing factors for the change is to accommodate the new housing developments coming (Bergen tool site and something going in on Bilby). WG is over capacity now and if the "line" stays, those kids would go to WG. My question (aside from generating revenue) is why the Town would be adding all this housing if the schools are over capacity? And this will just be a domino effect eventually hitting all schools. I think some of the frustration should be directed to the Town for allowing this. The BOE is only reacting to the situation, they did not cause the situation. IMO, I want my kids to have the best education. I could care less on how the school looks from the outside or if I might have to spend a little more time with them in the car each morning going from school to school. What matters is what is on the inside, which are great teachers and students and that is where the focus should be.

CGinHtown CGinHtown
Sep '14

Blame the housing not on the town but on NJ's affordable housing rules. I'm sure that's contributing to part of this.

btownguy btownguy
Sep '14

I agree...the town/state needs to consider the impact of these housing projects on the schools.

concernedparent concernedparent
Sep '14

The Planning Board meetings are held every month on the 4th Tuesday and the agenda for the meeting can be found online at www.hackettstown.net. More people need to be at these meetings to ask questions and express concerns about the projects being proposed in the early stages of discussions and before they are approved.

michelemorp michelemorp
Sep '14

Whatever the outcome, maybe the crossing guards could also be trained in helping traffic bc between Centenary and HH, Grand Ave can get to be a mess. .

traffic traffic
Sep '14

For sure something needs to be done because class sizes in WG are already much larger than those at Hatchery, and have been for some time.
My least favorite option- selling WG and the Middle School, and expanding Hatchery into a larger campus for K-8.
This one boggles the mind. MAYBE the hospital might take on the WG building to add to their campus... maybe. But who would buy the Middle School building? Seems to me that would just sit on the market.
Also roads into the Hatchery Hill school are small and traffic is already congested there with only the K-4 campus.
Agree with others who say moving the line looks like the best and most cost effective idea. Easy to do, no building, no busing.

hktownie hktownie
Sep '14

Maybe bumping this thread up will help on the other other thread about Hackettstown Schools - many of the topics / issues are brought up here

Tigerfan Tigerfan
Mar '15

Hackettstown reveals elementary realignment plan

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/warren-county/express-times/index.ssf/2015/04/hackettstown_elementary_school.html#incart_river

nancy nancy
Apr '15

Nothing was "revealed" in this article
Doesn't say where the line change is going to be

H-town Mama H-town Mama
Apr '15

The presentation from the meeting is on the district website. There's a map of the line.

http://www.hackettstown.org/site/default.aspx?DomainID=4

Htown Resident Htown Resident
Apr '15

I've looked at that map several times and can't figure out what it's trying to tell us. The map is basically a map of 1/5 of Hackettstown, largely the area known as Countryside. Willow Grove, Brook Hollow, Kenwood and College View are not shown on that map, so in looking at it I can't see a line that delineates Willow Grove from Hatchery Hill. Does anyone know where the line alls?

HtownParent
Apr '15

I'm guessing here, but I think the map shows only the area where there will be a change in schools, not the areas unaffected. That is probably why places like Kenwood, Brook Hollow etc. are not on the map.

JBJSKJ JBJSKJ
Apr '15

I read the map to mean that the lines in Yellow which were previously Willow Grove will now go to Hatchery Hill. All other areas remaining the same.

trekster3- trekster3-
Apr '15

The yellow area on the map USE to go to Willow Grove, now that area is going to Hatchery Hill. Very easy to understand. All the rest of the Hackettstown will remain the same.

littlelu littlelu
Apr '15

Thank you Htown resident!

H-town Mama H-town Mama
Apr '15

Poor choice of wording on map, does not show a line, but rather what littlelu says , could have been done better

eapos eapos
Apr '15

Seems to me they took the children from the more expensive homes on the WG side to move to Hatchery. Why would they choose to cluster at the one end of town?

hktownie hktownie
Apr '15

all they needed to do was show who was effected by this realignment, which is what they did. Everyone else was not effected. So all they did was highlight the effected neighborhood. Can't help it if that was too difficult for some to comprehend.

darwin darwin
Apr '15

The home values in Countryside are no different than other neighborhoods in town, with the exception of Hunter's Brook. It has to do with proximity to Hatchery Hill. That is all.

It is interesting that the largest group of students is the current third grade class in Willow Grove. They are exempt from going to Hatchery Hill and may continue on with fourth grade at Willow. I realize it has to do with the overall student count for the entire school. Just from looking at the numbers, it is an unusually large class and the other grade levels seem average in size except for kindergarten. The current kindergarten at Willow is going to lose about 20 students to Hatchery for the next school year.

While there is overcrowding at Willow, it seems the bulk of those students will not be moving to Hatchery. Those numbers should go down at Willow after the current third graders move up to the middle school 2016-2017.

The Bergen tool property apartments would also go to Hatchery. So Hatchery at some point, will be the overcrowded school.
My guess is that people having trouble understanding the map may not be aware of what the lines were to begin with, that may be why they are confused.

Any oldtimers out there remember when the line was changed last time? Was it 2003-2004? I don't recall a huge ordeal back then but I believe it was the West
Valley View area that used to go to Willow.

youngnfresh youngnfresh
Apr '15

At the meeting, they said the last time they changed the line was about 20 years ago. When I was in school, the line was behind the middle school.

Htown Resident Htown Resident
Apr '15

I have been here 16 years and it has not changed in that time.


I live in Valleyview and it has never changed for us. Been here 24 yrs.

Teenie Teenie
Apr '15

Pretty sure it did change more recently than 20 yrs ago. If I am correct then the fact that nobody remembers is proof it is not the end of the world if it changes again.

youngnfresh youngnfresh
Apr '15

The area was selected because it is close enough to HH and will not require busing.

Barnacle Bill
Apr '15

Looks like Sept. 2019 will bring another change..... Prek-1st at Willow....2-4th at Hatchery.

Fedup
Apr '18

What's wrong with that?

Metsman Metsman
Apr '18

Metsman...will you have more than 1 kid in elementary school in 2019?...if yes, you may have to run all around town to drop off your kids. If you have an additional child at the middle school too...yikes! Obviously they will stagger times, but that does not mean parents will not be zipping from one school to the next. Traffic will be terrible as parents drop off at Hatchery and zip back to Willow or vice versa. It has been proposed that we can pay for our own busing, but seeing that Willow is over 2 miles for some and Hatchery is over 2 miles for others, the school system will be obligated to provide buses....hence make your taxes go up. 4th graders who would have enjoyed riding their bikes home can no longer do so because they are at a school almost 3 miles away....many bought homes in this town because it is a walking district.

Fedup
Apr '18

First off how is it a walking district? My kids went to hatchery hill. We lived far enough away that I drove them every morning. Kids that age shouldn’t be walking alone anyway. Mine didn’t start walking until they got to the middle school. I’m failing to see what your point is. My little one won’t be walking until middle school either so you’re telling me you’d let a first grader walk home alone? Sounds irresponsible to me. You're letting a sheep become prey to wolves in that scenario.

Metsman Metsman
Apr '18

Mets man...a walking district simply means that there is not a bus provided to those who live in town. Belvidere is a walking district as is the town Mendham.. (not township). Long Valley, Mansfield and any district where a bus is provided for all students....IS NOT.

Now that that is established, I live in Hunters Brook. I am less than a mile from Willow. In the spring of 4th grade, would I let my kid ride her bike home with friends? (with the 1 crossing guard) The answer is yes! I would meet her 1/2 way the 1st few times....to say this is bad parenting? I lived here and attend Willow myself. I walked home alone in 2nd grade. Sure, times have changed, I agree...but I urge you to (slowly) drive down Willow Grove on a nice day at 3:10/3:15....you will see the older kids (4tg grade) walking to their homes in Brook Hollow and Hunters Brook. Some have their younger siblings with them. It is normal. I did it as a 4th grader at Willow too.

Fedup
Apr '18

The real question is why are we educating preschool children when the state constitution says we must provide education ages 5-18? If the schools are so crowded, perhaps the education of preschool children should be left to the private preschools?

Nancy Nancy
Apr '18

"4th graders who would have enjoyed riding their bikes home can no longer do so because they are at a school almost 3 miles away"

currently 4th graders are not allowed to walk/ride their bikes home alone. Kids are not released at the elementary schools until the teacher sees the child's adult/guardian. So I know of no 4th graders that are riding their bikes to school.

njlawyer njlawyer
Apr '18

fedup you're full of it. I never saw kids walking home from Hatchery Hill. I was laid off when my son was in 4th grade and I used to walk the path by the Hatchery to go get him.

Metsman Metsman
Apr '18

Again metsman....I I am telling you or ANY HLifers ....call. Call Willow and ask "can a 4th grader ride his bike home with no parent?".....Metsman says I am lying.....NJlawyer says the same.....(same person btw)..... call and see. .... kids (gasp) ride home every nice day and get exercise on their own ....call call call. Then report if I am lying on HL life.

Fedup
Apr '18

Are you implying NJLawyer and I are the same person? LOL... I'm not a lawyer why would I have that screen name... My son was in 4th grade the 08-09 school year. They most definitely didn't let kids leave on their own then.

Metsman Metsman
Apr '18

Yes a 4th grader can ride their bike home after school or walk for that matter with parental permission. Parent just needs to call or write a note.

H-town Mama H-town Mama
Apr '18

Metsman, you are the one that is "full of it." My son was also in 4th grade during the 08 -09 school year and was certainly able to walk home from school on his own from WG. He didn't do it often but on occasion he did. He even walked his 2nd grade brother home. Plus I see plenty of students walking home alone or with their parents. Just because YOU haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

jrsemom jrsemom
Apr '18

So if this is so wide spread, how far are you letting your single digit kids walk?

Metsman79 Metsman79
Apr '18

Metsman and NJ Lawyer are only partly correct. Kindergartners are released only when a responsible adult is there in person to pick up. Beginning in Gr. 1, kids are released at the end of the school day, and can walk home. There are MANY kids at WG who walk down the catwalk to waiting adults, and some that continue to walk home, particularly those who live in the Willow Grove Park development. And yes, kids also walk to Hunter's Brook, and the houses directly across from the school (by the Willow Deli).

Having 2 children in different schools, on different sides of town is surely more challenging than having all of your elementary school aged kids in one building.

And all three of our kids walked to elementary, middle, and high school "back in the day".

summerrain1 summerrain1
Apr '18

Nancy- the preschool will have a tuition.

lala1313 lala1313
Apr '18

And unless the rules changed this year.. 4th graders can ride their bike to and from school. My kids walked on nice days with friends.

lala1313 lala1313
Apr '18

Iala1313-I realize that the preschool will have tuition but that is not the public school's mission. We have local preschools that could educate the preschool children. Ages 5-18 is what we should be worried about. It is hard to believe that the administration has been saying the schools are overcrowded but they can find the space to educate preschoolers.

Nancy Nancy
Apr '18

There are plenty of children that walk from Hatchery Hill. Some even walk with older siblings and or neighbors. There are a few i am familiar with and would stop in a heartbeat if i noticed something was wrong. I can't see anyone saying no to a child that asks for help. I have doubled back before when i saw a kid pacing once. Here he was playing with a little snake he found.


I walk with my kids until 4th grade and then they are allowed to walk themselves. Not every day, not even every week, but on occasion. Then throughout middle school more and more often until high school when they are on their own. You build independence by allowing them a little at a time.

Njchia Njchia
Apr '18

It was discussed to the BOE meeting last night. The District's policy is to not let the kids leave the elementary schools without a parent/guardian there to pick them up. If parents want their kids to be able to walk home alone then they can send in written notice to the schools.

Jim L Jim L
Apr '18

Thank you Jim L. For confirming what I stated above

H-town Mama H-town Mama
Apr '18

I posted on this thread a few years ago, but as I re-read what I wrote back then, it is clear that I did not realize what an absolute logistical nightmare this reorg is going to cause for some families.

For two years, I will have one student in each elementary school. With drop off being ~8:10am at each school, I won't be able to leave the second school until at LEAST 8:20am, assuming traffic is at least somewhat reasonable. My older child will be a 2.3 mile walk from our house to Hatchery Hill, so that's out of the question.

Then after school, I assume we would have to pick up from two different Aftercare programs. It is a struggle to get to aftercare before 6pm on some days when only going to one school, so going to two will be nearly impossible.

I realize that my wife and/or I could find employment closer to town, or move closer to work, or hire someone to assist with drop off and/or pick up, but we would obviously prefer to not have to do any of those things.

I think the town should consider using Willow Grove and Hatchery Hill as central drop off points for all K-8 students, and then busing them to their respective schools. When the Willow Grove students were displaced, the process was quite efficient. We dropped our son off, he got right on his specific bus, and was transported from Willow Grove to Great Meadows Middle School. I envision the same process working to take him to Hatchery Hill. This would allow parents to drop off multiple children in the same location, and would eliminate at least some of the congestion in the middle of town. Drop off could be slightly earlier than 8am, giving a reprieve to working parents who need to travel to work each morning.


CR37, I had the same scenario for a year (elementary, middle and high school) but back then the start time of each school was staggered. I’d be surprised if the new schedules didn’t allow for this. It wasn’t always easy but it was manageable.

justintime justintime
Apr '18

Believe it or not other towns have been doing this for years. And it works. I get the driving from school to school but I don't understand what will make everyone happy

Htownlifer Htownlifer
Apr '18

Htown Lifer, most of the other towns that have grade based school also have busing provided for students. The issue in Hackettstown is that our students are not bussed and a parent will have to be responsible to be at possibly 2, 3, or even 4 schools within a short time, particularly now that the distance that a student lives exceeds the state mandates for district provided busing. Will our taxes have to go up to provide a fleet of school busses for children who live in College View or Hunter's Brook to go to an elementary school on the other side of town?

summerrain1 summerrain1
Apr '18

it won't be a fleet of buses. Most likely 2.

1 to take kids from East edge of town to Hatchery and 1 to kids from West edge of town to Willow. But yes there will be a cost to the tax payers for those buses. But the alternative was moving 7&8th grade to Indy school which the feasibility study showed would cost Hackettstown taxpayers $1mill/year. This will be closer to 1/10th that.

Jim L Jim L
Apr '18

I'm confused Jim. One bus from East to HH & one from west to WG. Correct? So that would mean there is only 54 students to transport in each bus. So does this mean the other students are not entitled to transport by bus? I see it as the students who live the farthest will have bus transportation, but the students who are a block down the road from the bus kids will have no bus service. So the mom who drives will be paying extra $$ in taxes for her child's friend who is in the same class but is a half block down the street. And it doesn't include gas or wear and tear on her vehicle.

auntiel auntiel
Apr '18

Antiel, unfortunately that is how it works in many districts. When I was a kid, I lived just over 2 miles from the school and got bussed. Kids that lived not far from me were closer then the mandated distance and had to walk or get a ride.


What I am having a hard time understanding is how this change will really help. You still have the same total number of students in the same total space. Is this the only real way to try to balance the schools? If 2 larger classes come through back to back, won't you still end up with the same issue?


Correct only kids outside of the 2 mile radius will get busing. So everyone’s taxes will go up but only those outside the 2 mile radius will get the benefits of that tax increase.

Jim L Jim L
Apr '18

Jim, Please forgive me if I'm being obtuse, but how does reconfiguring the elementary schools, which will still educated gr. Pre-K-4 children become an issue of moving 7th & 8th graders to GMRMS? Same number of K-4 children. Same number of elementary schools. Same number of kids at the Middle School. Where does the changing HMS enter into this equation?

summerrain1 summerrain1
Apr '18

That was brought up by a BOE member at the meeting last month. The total number of kids the 2 elementary schools would technically still be the same. The thought was they would be more evenly split up. Right now Hatchery has close to 100 more kids than willow since they moved the line. So the logic is this would balance out the schools.

Jim L Jim L
Apr '18

So this doesn't actually have anything at all to do with moving the kids from HMS to GMRMS? Why is that $1 million pricetag being tossed out then?

Is there a projected cost savings with this move to consolidate the elementary schools?

Was just moving the line again considered? Much of Countryside now goes to HH (up to 7th ave. I believe). Couldn't they just put the Countryside development kids back in WG where they used to go (years ago)?

summerrain1 summerrain1
Apr '18

OMG now people are complaining that some kids will get bussed and others won't. That has been going on in every town in NJ for decades. I lived close to the middle and high school in my town growing up. I had to walk. There was no bus. That's the way it works.

Metsman Metsman
Apr '18

Yea moving the line again was discussed. The BOE does not want to do that again and was looking for a more permanent solution

Yes this has to do with moving the HMS 7&8th graders to great Meadows. They only reason they were going to do that was to free up space in the middle school to bring the 4th graders in there. The spacing issue is at the elementary schools. The middle school and HS for now are fine

And there is no cost savings for going to age based from the current budget. It will cost more. Have to put bathrooms in some willow grove classrooms. Have to pay for buses.

Jim L Jim L
Apr '18

This idea of reorganization is supported by the superintendent who presents educational district information to board of education members. I suggest if you are against this reorganization... make your voice heard at board meetings...writing letters to board members and town councils members. Vote board members out...they are elected to serve the educational community.... Get rid of the superintendent.... look how he affected the GM district.... he double dips between both districts... which should never have been allowed...also did anyone ever think about there is a vacant school building in town already...the Saint Mary’s school building.... which I’m sure could be purchased or rented from the Diesoces of Metchon... that building did accommodate grades K-8 .... that building is a half way point in town and could accommodate pre-K to grade 2.... leaving hatchery and willow to continue to serve grades 3,4 and possibly 5 if Need be... giving space to the middle school also!!! Bottom line parents get involved... at board meetings, council meetings... PTA’s and make your voice heard!!!

Concerned Grandparen
Oct '18

Concerned Grandparen, I think you are a little late to the party. Everything that you mentioned was already vetted over a year ago. The Archdiocese of Metuchen was not interested in selling or renting out the Saint Mary’s School property.


Great more traffic and commotion... they couldnt just keep it easy for the kids and parents?

Youfriend Youfriend
Oct '18

I got a letter in the mail today from the htown board of education that my daughter is eligible for busing to willow grove next year because of the new grade based alignment change. I live in the Kenwood section so im both confuzzled, happy and suspicious about this all at the same time. Was busing always on the table and part of this plan for students who will have to change to willow grove next year? Did anyone else get this letter and will be taking the town up in their offer? Is this going to cost me anything ? (either directly or indirectly)

H-town Mama H-town Mama
April 6th

your taxes will increase


Bussing has to be provided to kids 2 miles and farther for elementary schools. The cost will be in our property taxes. Those closer can pay for use the bussing if they want


How do they figure out the mileage to school from your home? Probably not with google maps or waze or anything ((lol)) but I just used both those apps and plugged in different routes for both schools and I’m more than 2 miles from hatchery hill, the school where all my kids went and I have 1 still there and I never got offered busing like I am now. Willow grove is actually not that much farther than hatchery is, in fact one of the routes has it being a shorter distance but still over the 2 miles

H-town Mama H-town Mama
April 6th

This town is pathetic. Average taxes are 7-8k per year and no bussing.

Metsman Metsman
April 7th

How is the distance between a student's home and school measured?

A. Measurement is made by the shortest distance along public roadways or walkways between the entrance to the student's home and the nearest public entrance of the school building. This measurement is for eligibility purposes only and is not necessarily the travel path to and from school.

Ordained
April 7th

Let's not forget for a town that is a walking district the sidewalks are a joke. From Willow Grove to Main there is no continuous sidewalk forcing you to cross back and forth a few times along the way.

The people in charge of this town are a joke.


I’m hoping the schools will be lienent with pick up time. The time stated in the letter would give me 4 minutes to get from my house to pick up my older child at Willow Grove. Which works in a pinch but only if the buses are always exactly on time. I am also hoping they will have aids on the bus for the younger kids. A bus full of 5-7 year olds with just the driver sounds like recipe for disaster.

JustSayinInHtown
April 10th

OK guys, I may have missed this but I was told about potential Pre-K classes in the next 2 years. Perhaps this is also in response to that?

MommyNJ4 MommyNJ4
April 12th

Pre-K will be at HH starting in September
https://www.hackettstown.org/cms/lib/NJ01000669/Centricity/Domain/4/Htown%20Preschool%20Brochure%2019-20v2.pdf

jrsemom jrsemom
April 13th

Busing should be "pay if you choose to use"...it is a luxury and should bet treated as such, along with ALL after school programs,
Tax dollars should not be used to "make life convenient " for some, everyone needs to be responsible for themselves and their families.


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