With only two weeks left before schools starts, around 400 students matriculated in the Roselle Park School District (RPSD) have yet to be re-registered for the 2016-17 school year. There will be one last opportunity next week to have parents and/or guardians come into their respective students’ school and register before school starts.
As part of a program put in place by the Board Of Education (BOE), every five years the school district has a process where families provide documentation which confirms that each student going to a Roselle Park public school actually lives in in the borough. Over the summer there were six opportunities to have students re-registered into the system.
At the August 23rd BOE meeting, School Superintendent Pedro Garrido announced that the district registered over 1,500 students. The student population has been a little under 2,000 for the last couple of years so there are, at least, 400 students whose families have yet to come in to complete the required process.
Mr. Garrido notified the Board and the public that letters have been sent out to those families that have not re-registered. He stated, “We will give them one more opportunity the week of August 29th to come in to [their] home schools and re-register their child. Hopefully, we will receive or we will get all of our students re-registered.”
If it turns out that there are less students . . . how will class size and those extra classes – budgeted at $250,000 – be affected?
BOE member Loren Harms asked the superintendent, “What is the plan if, in fact, they do not come and register this week?”
Mr. Garrido replied, “The letter that was sent out was very specific and detailed on what could happen. They would certainly be allowed back to the school even though they would lose certain privileges. I’m hoping that parents do come in, if not we’ll be on the phone with those parents.”
When asked by board member Alex Balaban if the letters that were just sent out were certified, Mr. Garrido stated that they were sent out through regular mail.
BOE member Troy Gerten inquired, “What does that do to our preparation as we go through plans for the class sizes and the first couple of days of school? Also, what impact does that have on our staff those first few days which are generally chaotic to begin with?”
Mr. Gerten asked about the impact since the BOE voted to approve additional classes for teachers in the middle and high schools that evening. If it turns out that there are less students than expected due to the re-registration process, how will class size and those extra classes – budgeted at $250,000 – be affected?
Continuing with his concerns, Mr. Gerten inquired, “How are we ensuring the integrity of that re-registration process when you have parents lining up outside the principal’s office or in the hallways trying to re-register to ensure that the proper documentation is there?”
As echoed later by Mr. Harms, the concern is that parents who do not re-register next week show up with on the first day of school and try to have their child matriculate on the spot.
Mr. Garrido answered, “We have to prepare for that [but] I’m hoping that the letter that was sent out was impactful enough that they will think about coming in next week . . . but we certainly have to prepare [for] exactly what you’re talking about. It’s not a perfect system . . . we know that we’re going to have stragglers and we know that we may have some issues.”
“Do we have any idea or is there a way to find out what grades they are in so we can be better prepared or the district can be better prepared for that?”, asked Mr. Harms, adding, “I am definitely afraid that some people, and I’ll say it, some people might be just waiting for the end so they can kind of scoot through and . . . [have] the school district [pay] for somebody that doesn’t belong here.”
He suggested that, perhaps, some of the administrators might have to be standing by to actually help with the registrations, explaining, “I don’t need this money we spent to have re-registration go to the wayside because we don’t have enough people for the other 25%.”
The School Superintendent asked the Board to wait until the end of next week at which time a revised list of no shows can be compiled. Mr. Garrido did say that out of all the school in the district, the high school and the middle school most amount of students that have yet to register.
BOE President Christopher Miller concluded, “I think that Mr. Harms, Mr. Sekou, and Mr. Gerten raised some valid points and I think next week is very crucial. I think by [September] 2nd that number will be cut, at least, by three-fourths so that would be great and I think then that number will be a little more tangible to deal with.”
Parents and/or guardians will have to go to their respective school Monday to Friday from August 29th to Sept 2nd between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to re-register. Proper documentation will be required. Anyone needing more information will need to contact the BOE offices at (908) 245-1197.