Open Letter to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise

Dear Editor:

Dear Hudson County Executive DeGise:

At a press conference on 10-24-16, you took a recommendation from members of the community suggesting that the North Bergen BOE buy the old Hi-Tech HS from Hudson County, and you announced that this great idea “fell from Heaven.”

This idea would have added much needed classrooms to the overcrowded North Bergen school system, and it would have allowed preschool students to go to classrooms in real school buildings with their siblings, not in unsafe temporary classroom units/TCUs that are illegally situated in Hudson County’s Braddock Park.

Hudson County and North Bergen have failed to follow thru on this idea, as promised.

Now, North Bergen is refusing to honor NJDEP’s demand that the NB Preschool leave Braddock Park, no later than 08-31-21.

As a former school teacher, you should know that these “antiquated” and unsafe 20 year old TCUs are no place for children and teachers to go back to school in the the fall under normal circumstances, and due to the pandemic situation, it would be negligent to continue to use these TCUs.

North Bergen admitted in 2016 that TCUs are “typically leased for five years” and these have “aged beyond their useful life.”

InvestigateWest wrote this about TCUs:
“They burden schools with high energy costs and frequent maintenance needs. They expose students and teachers to mold and mildew, poor ventilation and the potential for volatile gases from cheap building materials.”
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE: https://www.invw.org/2014/05/07/portables/

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency noted “poorly functioning HVAC systems that provide minimal ventilation with outside air” is one of the most common problems of TCUs:
https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/maintain-portable-classrooms-part-indoor-air-quality-design-tools-schools#portclass

Do the right thing: IMMEDIATELY ALLOW NORTH BERGEN TO RENT HI-TECH CLASSROOMS AND REMODEL THEM FOR PRESCHOOL USE IN THE FALL.

Don’t continue to jeopardize lives, don’t continue to disregard NJDEP regulations that protect Hudson County’s Braddock Park from non-recreational development.

Robert Walden