Rally opposed to location of classroom trailers will target Aug. 15 committee meeting

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow | Aug 15, 2018

MONROE – Community members opposed to the Board of Education and administration’s decision to install temporary classroom trailers along a busy road will rally tonight, an organizer said.

The rally will target the Board of Education Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee, said Rochelle Fennell, who also started an online petition through change.org in an attempt to pressure the district to change its decision.

The rally will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Monroe Township High School, 200 Schoolhouse Road. The Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee begins at 7 p.m. in the high school’s media center. Residents can attend the committee meeting.

Committee Chairman Ken Chiarella and other education officials have defended the district’s decision to install the temporary classroom trailers for the middle school along Perrineville Road.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions. … Bottom line when we had trailers prior we had them on the field but those were not connected to sewers. These will be,” he said at the July Board of Education meeting. “Kids won’t have to leave to go to the bathroom.”

Critics maintain the board should find safer location for the trailers for students and staff who will ultimately be assigned to the temporary structures. They are concerned that given the proximity to the road, it exposes the trailers to a potential vehicular accident and have also questioned how secure the temporary classrooms are.

The district said the trailers will be secure, and is looking at installing some type of a barrier to prevent any vehicle from crashing into the structures.

“To this end, discussions regarding the installation of protective barriers along the perimeter of the trailer footprint, among other items, are continuing,” acting Superintendent Robert Goodall wrote in a letter to community members on July 30. “Once a final decision is arrived at in this regard, I will provide the parents in this district with additional information.”

However, as for moving the trailers at this point may not happen Goodall said because the new school year will start soon.

Community members have also brought their concerns to the township council in hopes that the governing body will pressure the district to change the location. The council, though, has no authority over the school board.

In a statement last week, the township business administrator, Alan Weinberg, said, “The Township is aware of the Board of Education’s July 30th letter regarding the school district’s new portable classrooms. We look forward to hearing the results of their review and discussions — and stand ready to help in any way we can.”