Students, parents protest potential closing of Middletown school

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Students and their parents rallied in Middletown on Monday to protest the potential closing of an elementary school.

Port Monmouth Elementary School is nearly 100 years old. But costly repairs and a reduction in state aid may force the Middletown School District to shutter the school. The group says that they are upset by how the district announced the possible closure.

"To go and announce it on social media before they tell the school community is a disgrace to us,” says parent Pat Smith.

Superintendent Dr. Bill George posted a video online last week laying out the reasoning behind possibly closing Port Monmouth and shifting the student body to New Monmouth.

User: Middletown Township Public Schools To: link

"The impetus for this proposal is the significant decline in student enrollment and decrease in funding. In addition, our new five years-facility plan requires more than $3.7 million in maintenance in the Port Monmouth School alone,” George said.

Parents like Jessica Sickler say that losing Port Monmouth Elementary would just add to the pain of the continued recovery from Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed hundreds of homes in the neighborhood.

"I just moved back in in September, so it took seven years just to get back into my house from Sandy. So, all of those properties are built back up and sold. New families are in. They haven't done an updated study. If they did, they haven't shared it with us,” Sickler says.

If the plan goes through, the school could close in June. Students would switch over to the new school in September. A vote is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 4th.

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