The North Bergen Board of Education is jeopardizing the well-being of preschool staff and students.
State regulation N.J.A.C. 6A:26-3.14(g) allows school trailers (TCUs), to be approved for use for a maximum of five years by the New Jersey Department of Education.
The North Bergen preschool TCUs are 20+, not 5 years old.
N.J.A.C. 6A:26-8.1 requires NJ DOE to inspect TCUs annually. North Bergen Schools Superintendent Solter claimed the TCUs “are inspected annually by the state Department of Education and have always passed.” NJ DOE doesn’t possess documents showing it ever inspected, until 2019, after it received complaints.
The preschool has not always passed inspections; North Bergen fire and code inspectors issued multiple violations through the years.
In November 2014, Nick Sacco Sr. claimed the TCUs are “constantly checked for mold and other environmental problems. And they don’t exist.” A NB BOE OPRA response shows the only TCU testing between 2001 and August 2020 was in May, 2014 when one out of 17 TCUs was tested for mold/fungi.
More than a year ago, in August 2020, the air quality was tested in the TCUs and only six of the 17 TCUs were tested for coronavirus, and visual, not laboratory, testing was done for mold/fungi.
Superintendent Solter stated the TCUs never violated egress regulations.
Nonsense; the NB BOE and the township both possess egress violation notices which state two, not one, emergency exits are required in each TCU.
This violation wasn’t abated until 2018, six years after a fire destroyed two TCUs.
Braddock Park is a beautiful location for a preschool, for condos or for city hall, but New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulations prohibit using the park for anything not related to recreational use. Park lands are needed to provide respite from the noisy concrete jungle outside them. Braddock is one of only two major parks in a county whose Master Plan says “Hudson County has an existing deficit of 524 acres of municipal parkland and 1,172 acres of County park land.”
A 2000 North Bergen referendum showed residents opposed building a new high school in Braddock Park; yet a year later, North Bergen moved the preschool into the park.
In 2001, Mr. Sacco stated the preschool would be removed from Braddock Park in 2002.
The North Bergen BOE recently reneged on its own plan (which voters approved in a 2018 bond referendum) to place all the preschoolers into renovated elementary school classrooms by September 2021.
The money and the space to fulfill the plan were/are available.
For 20 years, North Bergen has callously betrayed the trust of the community and BOE staff and their union(s) should be concerned.