By Matthew Sockol
FREEHOLD – Teachers and administrators in the Freehold Borough K-8 School District will welcome more than 1,700 children back to school when the 2016-17 school year begins on Sept. 6.
According to administrators, enrollment for the new year stands at 1,715 pupils, which is essentially the same as the 1,720 pupils who were enrolled in 2015-16.
Because the district enrolls more pupils than it has capacity for, administrators will continue to rent classrooms in the neighboring Freehold Township K-8 School District to accommodate students who cannot be educated in one of Freehold Borough’s two elementary schools and one middle school.
Administrators said that during the 2016-17 school year, 173 Freehold Borough pupils in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten will attend class in nine classrooms the district rents in Freehold Township. That number could change if there are late registrations.
The Freehold Borough pupils are provided with transportation to and from the three schools in Freehold Township in which classrooms are rented (the West Freehold, Errickson and Catena schools).
Administrators said 183 Freehold Borough pupils were educated in Freehold Township schools in 2015-16.
The borough residents who attend school in Freehold Township are taught by teachers who are employees of the Freehold Borough school district.
To deal with the issue of pupil overcrowding in Freehold Borough’s schools, administrators will oversee a construction project that will provide new facilities. The project was authorized by New Jersey Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe on Aug. 4 after voters rejected two referendums proposing the $33 million construction package.
Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic said district officials have a goal to break ground on the construction project during the 2016-17 school year.
Other goals, according to the superintendent, are to pursue additional state aid that will bring the school district to its proper level of funding and to ensure that all students are improving academically.
“We are very excited to start the new school year and to see our students safely return,” Tomazic said. “We are determined to continue the push to ensure our students have the physical and financial resources (so that we may) provide a thorough and efficient education. We will be working with renewed focus to ensure that their education prepares them for high school, college and the world of work beyond.”