FREEHOLD - Officials from the Freehold Borough school district have asked a judge to approve a plan to deal with overcrowding. The plan was defeated by voters twice before.
Superintendent Rocco Tomavic says that the library at Park Avenue Elementary School has been divided into seven makeshift classrooms and the stage in the cafeteria has been made into a classroom as well.
"They're very cramped and we're unable to do the state curriculum with the amount of space that we have," says Tomavic.
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At a public hearing, students, teachers and the superintendent told a judge how distracting the noise level can be with this kind of overcrowding and how unfair the conditions are to the children. They are hoping the judge will allow the district to build a $32 million addition.
However, voters have twice defeated the referendum that would allow the money, and some feel having the vote overturned negates their right to vote.
Some Freehold residents tell News 12 New Jersey that many of the students at the school are the children of immigrants in the country illegally, and the community should not have to pay for them.
Superintendent Tomavic says that the issue of illegal immigration does not concern the district, and his only job is to ensure all children in his district get a solid education.
The judge has 45 days to issue her decision. The New Jersey commissioner of education will then decide whether to sign off on it.
If the school expansion is approved by the state, it would mean a tax hike of $278 per year for the average homeowner.