Edison Township Public Schools

312 Pierson Avenue | Edison | New Jersey 08837 | Phone: (732) 452-4900
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December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

 

Anyone who knows much about the Edison district is aware of the overcrowding in our schools. Population soared in Edison, especially during certain periods. It more than doubled from 1950 to 1960, from less than 20,000 to more than 40,000. There was another spurt from 1960 to 1970 to more than 60,000. Growth slowed in the 1970s, but took off again in the 1980s. The population today is about 100,000.

 

 There have been additions to the buildings, but no new public school has been built in the township since 1972. It was with the overcrowding in mind and with questions about future space availability that the administration commissioned Sundance Associates of Cherry Hill to conduct a demographic study of our school system.

 

Our enrollment on November 30 was 14,804, the fifth-largest in New Jersey. The projected increase until 2021 is about 150 students annually. Students are already crammed into schools that have a functional efficiency standard—set by the state department of education--for a capacity of 10,553. Even following the district practice of claiming supply closets, former art rooms, and other undedicated spaces for regular classroom instruction the district is not supposed to house more than 12,321 students.

 

Edison is short two elementary schools, according to the New Jersey Department of Education facilities efficiency standards. By these standards the system should also have at least one more middle school and one more high school.

 

The demography study projected enrollments into the future and predicted that by even the most generous state standard--district practice--space shortages in 2016 at the most jammed elementary schools will be Woodbrook (lacking 256 spaces), Monroe (lacking 135 spaces), and Menlo Park (lacking 102 spaces). At the middle schools, the most serious space shortages will be 283 at Thomas Jefferson and 260 at Woodrow Wilson.

 

At the district’s two high schools, already stuffed to overcapacity, the space shortage by the same generous standard in 2016 will be 876 students at J.P. Stevens and 499 students at Edison High.

 

It will be up to the board of education to propose steps for dealing with the space shortage. It could mean redistricting attendance zones, building additions at certain existing schools, or constructing one or more new schools. There is the prospect of a new K-2 primary school on the former Camp Kilmer site, but that alone will not alleviate the overcrowding in the district. Finally, there is the possibility of doing nothing and just continuing as a drastically overcrowded district where population projections indicate no substantial relief in the near term.