LAWRENCE >> The approaching abandonment of Arch William B.J. Meurer of Ben Franklin Elementary has plunged the Lawrence Township Accessible Schools commune into an authoritative agents crisis, with adjacent Slackwood Academy actuality rocked and annoyed to the amount with administration uncertainty.
“While I accept enjoyed actuality the arch of Ben Franklin and alive with the children, teachers, and families here,” Meurer said Thursday in an emailed statement, “I am advancing added able opportunities and will bethink my time with the Ben Franklin association positively.”
Meurer’s abandonment has been accustomed by the Lawrence Township Lath of Apprenticeship and takes aftereffect June 30. On July 1, he will be succeeded by the uber-popular Jay Billy.
Billy over the aftermost seven years has served as arch of Slackwood Elementary and is accustomed with convalescent the school’s appearance and climate. But his seven-year run at the adeptness will appear to an end this summer back he clearly becomes arch of Ben Franklin Elementary, a higher-performing academy with added economically advantaged students.
With Meurer abandonment for claimed affidavit and creating a Ben Franklin administration vacancy, Lawrence Township Acting Administrator of Schools Andrew Zuckerman absitively to name Jay Billy as Meurer’s almsman and anon began a activity of analytic for a new arch to advance Slackwood.
“As the majority of the bodies actuality are already acquainted that it has been my advocacy for Jay Billy to become the arch of Ben Franklin starting July 1, 2018,” Zuckerman said at a arranged academy lath affair May 9. “It is a actual difficult decision. However, I accept that this accommodation has been fabricated in the best interests of the commune as a whole.”
Parents, agents and accepting of the Slackwood association disagree with Zuckerman’s assessment.
Christine Schafer of Mayflower Avenue, admiral of the Slackwood PTO, told the Lawrence Lath of Apprenticeship she was “frustrated at the achievability of accepting our admired baton ripped from our school. We feel as if our animosity haven’t been advised and after you absolutely acumen the appulse it will accept on the students, on our agents and the families of Slackwood.”
Schafer, a ancestor of two Slackwood students, accursed the commune for gutting Slackwood’s leadership.
“We accept Ben Franklin needs acclimation and needs a able leader, but at our expense?” she said in accessible comments at aftermost week’s academy lath meeting. “Please don’t say that it’s the best accommodation for the commune because it artlessly isn’t accurate because Slackwood is a allotment of the district, and it absolutely is not the best accommodation for us.”
Other agitated parents at the May 9 lath affair accustomed Arch Billy and fabricated comments such as, “It’s not fair for him to be uprooted from his home and placed elsewhere.”
Slackwood accepting bidding their animosity at the academy lath meeting, too, with one apprentice admonishing Zuckerman and the nine-member Lawrence Lath of Apprenticeship in no ambiguous terms.
“Why do you accept to booty the best arch in the apple abroad from us?” the apprentice said. “Can’t you acquisition a altered one for Ben Franklin? I mean, anticipate about it, you are demography our arch abroad from us. How would you feel if addition did that to your school?”
“Mr. Billy teaches us to be bigger people,” the apprentice added, “but I feel that if you booty him away, you will booty the beatitude abroad from Slackwood.”
Despite the sea of opposition, the academy lath in a 5-3 vote ultimately accustomed Zuckerman’s advocacy and accustomed a motion appointment Jay Billy from Slackwood to Ben Franklin able July 1.
School lath associates Michele Bowes, Dana Drake, Pepper Evans, Michelle King and Kevin Van Hise voted in the acknowledging to accept Billy’s approaching transfer. A boyhood of the lath associates — Kelly Edelstein, Jo Ann Groeger and Joyce Scott — against the transfer, while lath affiliate Jon Dauber abstained from voting.
Van Hise, the academy board’s president, gave accessible comments at the May 9 academy lath affair cogent Slackwood parents that their apropos did not abatement of deafened ears.
“Just the animated pleas that anybody actuality has appear out, we accept heard you loud and clear,” he said. “Frankly, you accept not told us annihilation that we don’t already know. The adeptness to acquisition a applicant for Ben Franklin, the easiest allotment was adage that Jay would be the absolute alone for that because he would be the absolute alone for anywhere.”
“Unfortunately for us that sit up here, we don’t accept the adeptness to anticipate of things in agreement of our architecture and the added architecture or that building,” Van Hise added, “because for us that sit up here, they are all our barrio and they’re all our students, and we are tasked and answerable with attractive at the accumulation of the commune and every apprentice in the district. And what you accept done tonight, at atomic to me, is acknowledge the amazingly aerial bar that Jay has set for his replacement, and that is on us to acquisition that.”
With Billy actuality alien off to Ben Franklin, the academy lath is actively analytic for a new arch to advance Slackwood.
“We accept had several accomplished candidates that accept already submitted,” Van Hise said, “and that chase continues, and that is on us, and that is not article that we do lightly.”
While academy admiral accept talked abundantly about the claim of appointment Billy, they accept been abundantly tight-lipped about Meurer’s approaching departure.
“Mr. Meurer tendered his letter of abandonment for claimed affidavit and adumbrated that he would not be continuing with the Commune accomplished the end of this academy year,” Van Hise said Thursday in an email to The Trentonian. “As with any letter of abandonment or retirement, we consistently accommodate accepting on our Lath calendar for bookish activity — which we did actuality at our April 25 meeting. Beyond that, we ambition Mr. Meurer able-bodied in all of his approaching endeavors and acknowledge him for his contributions to both Ben Franklin and our District.”
Ben Franklin and Slackwood both accept racially assorted apprentice bodies in grades pre-kindergarten through three, but Slackwood has decidedly added economically disadvantaged students, abstracts show.
Of the 288 accepting enrolled at Slackwood in the 2016-17 schoolyear, 40 percent of them were economically disadvantaged compared with 13 percent of Ben Franklin’s 395 accepting actuality economically disadvantaged, according to demographic abstracts appear to the New Jersey Administration of Education.
Data appearance Ben Franklin students, on average, accomplish at a college bookish akin than Slackwood students. For example, Ben Franklin third-graders demography the bounce 2017 PARCC algebraic appraisal had 41.2 percent of accepting affair expectations and 20 percent beyond expectations compared with 40 percent of Slackwood third-graders affair expectations and 11.3 percent beyond expectations on the aforementioned test.
Furthermore, Ben Franklin third-graders demography the English accent arts allocation of the bounce 2017 PARCC appraisal had 64.7 percent of accepting affair expectations and 7.1 percent beyond expectations compared with 39.7 percent of Slackwood third-graders affair expectations and 3.8 percent beyond expectations on the aforementioned test.
Slackwood’s educational professionals accept collectively accurate apropos over how Jay Billy’s alteration to Ben Franklin Elementary has the abeyant to abnormally appulse apprentice achievement at Slackwood.
Longtime Slackwood abecedary Pamela Ann DeRiso, speaking on account of her co-workers, apprehend a collective account at the May 9 academy lath affair acknowledging Billy’s different strengths as the accepted captain of the Slackwood ship.
“He supports the agents every footfall of the way, he will abide to appear into our classrooms assorted times a day, and he continues to action for our students’ appropriate to an admirable education,” DeRiso said of Billy, account from the collective statement. She added the accident of Billy’s attendance at Slackwood “during such a blizzard of about-face could prove adverse to the success of our students.”
Outgoing Slackwood Arch Jay Billy has absolute acquaintance with appropriate education, which is one of the affidavit Acting Administrator Zuckerman cited for appointment Billy to Ben Franklin, which has a beyond appropriate apprenticeship citizenry than Slackwood.
Zuckerman batten with empathy, cogent the anxious parents that he realizes the alteration “is a actual difficult accommodation and a actual affecting accommodation for the students, for the parents, for the teachers, and I do apologize about that. I don’t beggarly to accompany anybody’s affections into the forefront. However, in attractive at what’s in the best interests of the absolute district, I absolutely feel that this is the best interests of the absolute district.”
Billy was allegedly complex in an April 24 concrete argument with a Slackwood apprentice in which the 9-year-old babe suffered bruises to her arm, a ancestor told The Trentonian, abacus the New Jersey Administration of Accouchement and Families or DCF was declared to investigate the declared incident.
“Safeguarding the acquaintance of audience is a antecedence for the department,” a DCF agent said in an email. “DCF action and acknowledged requirements behest that we cannot affirm or abjure the accident of any investigation.”
The Trentonian asked Zuckerman via email whether a Slackwood argument amid Billy and a apprentice had annihilation to do with Billy’s alteration to addition school. The acting administrator did not abode that allotment of the email.
Zuckerman in his emailed acknowledgment said the accommodation to alteration Billy to Ben Franklin “was fabricated because his adventures and abilities as a baton are in absolute alignment with the needs of the school. We are alive with the Slackwood agents to accomplish abiding the Mr. Billy’s backup will abide the abundant assignment that is currently actuality done at Slackwood School.”
School admiral assert there is no attitude abaft Meurer’s awaiting resignation.
“There is annihilation abaft Mr. Meurer’s resignation,” Zuckerman said Thursday via email. “He accommodated for claimed reasons.”
Meurer has formed as a New Jersey accessible drillmaster back 2000 and had an anniversary bacon of about $127,000 aftermost year. Billy has been a New Jersey accessible drillmaster back 1992 and will aggregate an anniversary bacon of about $161,000 for the 2018-19 schoolyear awaiting the aftereffect of negotiations, according to accessible records.
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