Published On: Fri, Sep 7th, 2018

‘Save LPS’ group seeks to keep Lambertville public school within city limits

A new task force has been charged with a singular mission: keep Lambertville’s elementary school within the city’s borders. The group was approved at the Aug. 21 Mayor and City Council meeting.

Toward the end of 2017, some Lambertville parents organized an unofficial “Save LPS” group, sensing that a majority of South Hunterdon Regional School District Board of Education (BOE) members were favoring closing and moving the current school on Main Street.

The new task force allows the group to work with city officials, since the BOE will have to pass a referendum in the three municipalities it serves: Lambertville, Stockton and West Amwell.

The BOE, which now oversees three campuses — two in West Amwell and one in Lambertville — commissioned a study by McKissick Associates of Harrisburg, which narrowed down 10 scenarios on how the newly-formed school district could develop its buildings in the future. In the past year, the BOE cut the list down further:

  • Option A – Moving the 6th grades from West Amwell and Lambertville elementary schools to the middle school building at the South Hunterdon Regional High School campus
  • Option B  – Keeping the current elementary schools where they are and expanding both buildings
  • Option C – Building a new structure where the current high and middle school buildings are located, while closing the current Lambertville and West Amwell elementary schools
  • Option “C prime” – Building a new elementary school for Lambertville, Stockton and West Amwell students

The Stockton Elementary School closed in June.

During this year, the Save LPS group’s main goal was to remove option C from consideration, so they approached Mayor David Del Vecchio and City Council to investigate potential compromises.

“We voted Jan. 1 unanimously to say that there should be a K-6 school in the City of Lambertville,” said Del Vecchio after the meeting. “We’re going to work with the Board to make that happen.”

The council voted unanimously to create the new task force, whose goal is to keep an elementary school within city boundaries.

“The town council officially announced its support at the beginning of this year, and we feel this evolution makes sense…for what we believe will eventually be a successful negotiation with the BOE to remove the option of building a new elementary school outside of our community,” wrote Save LPS member Lorie Howe.

In addition to creating the task force, the city also passed a bond ordinance to fund an engineering study ($20,000) for the “review of properties to relocate the elementary school.” The engineers will investigate whether a new school could potentially be built somewhere else within city limits.

Howe admitted that members of Save LPS were divided on that issue: some would like to keep the current building with some minor expansions, while others were open to a new building within city limits. The group is opposed to an elementary school outside of the city.

When asked some of pros of keeping the school in town, Howe cited accessibility for all families in the community, and property values.

“Our kids will soon be walking through the neighborhood for their Halloween parade,” she said. “Our community, residents and businesses alike will step outside, while waving and cheering the kids on. Many other schools that celebrate this have their kids walk around in a circle in their school gym or parking lot — not us. It’s these types of unique interactions and what living in a walking district affords the community in general that together solidify LPS as a long-time important cornerstone in our community, and we’re not about to see that taken away.”

 

About the Author

- Steve Chernoski is a writer, film director and teacher who lives in Lambertville. Here's his website: http://stevechernoski.com.

Displaying 2 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. anerd200@aol.com' moo says:

    How about stopping the Lazy High School Regulators who think everyone is on board and unaware of their greedy money grabs from “Choice and ESC” students by dumping them in SHR. This is all out of greed not community. Many are aware of the increased drug incidents courtesy of the 2017 3 Graduate/dealers from Ewing.
    Stop destroying all the amazing education opportunities that brought dedicated parents to this town and leave LPS as the center of a treasured community! The for sale signs are not just about the pipeline!

  2. thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

    “Save LPS” do whatever you can to keep your local, neighborhood school. That small town connection will never be duplicated in another location.

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