FREEHOLD – Kindergarten pupils enrolled in the Freehold Borough K-8 School District who are educated in rented classrooms in the neighboring Freehold Township K-8 School District are expected to return to schools in their district as construction on a project to expand Freehold Borough’s schools nears completion.
For several years, the Freehold Borough Board of Education has rented classrooms in Freehold Township because the district did not have enough classroom space to educate all of its pupils.
Freehold Borough currently has 1,680 students enrolled, but the district’s two facilities – the Freehold Learning Center and the Park Avenue Complex, which houses the Park Avenue Elementary and the Freehold Intermediate School – have classroom space for about 1,148 students.
The most recent agreement was authorized by Freehold Township on Sept. 25 and Freehold Borough on Oct. 1. Under the agreement, Freehold Township will provide Freehold Borough with six classrooms, related services, transportation for the Freehold Borough students and custodial services for the classrooms.
According to Freehold Borough Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic, 107 pupils attend the six rented classrooms in Freehold Township: 30 pre-kindergarten pupils are in two classrooms at the Joseph J. Catena School and 77 kindergarten pupils are in four classrooms at the West Freehold School.
The construction project to expand Freehold Borough’s facilities will increase classroom space to 1,589 pupils.
Tomazic said Freehold Borough administrators expect the 77 kindergarten pupils to return from the West Freehold School to the Freehold Learning Center and be assigned to new classrooms by the end of November.
The 30 pre-kindergarten pupils attending the Catena school are expected to continue attending that school for the remainder of 2018, according to Tomazic.
The construction project to expand the Freehold Learning Center and the Park Avenue Complex is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
According to Tomazic, Freehold Borough’s cost to use the West Freehold School for kindergarten pupils has not yet been determined because the children are expected to move out by November. In 2017, Freehold Borough was charged $64,329 for the West Freehold School ($36,827 for transportation costs and $27,502 for rent).
Freehold Borough is charged $114,016 to use the Catena school for pre-kindergarten pupils ($100,016 for transportation costs and $14,000 for rent). Tomazic said those expenses are funded by the school district’s pre-kindergarten expansion grant.