New Leadership, Old Issues: Fair Lawn School Board Faces Overcrowding

At the recent Fair Lawn School Board meeting, of note was the ongoing issue of school overcrowding. Two local schools, Redburn Elementary School and TJ Middle School, were highlighted as reportedly being particularly affected, currently operating at 10% over their intended capacities.

One speaker noted that the district has made previous attempts to address the overcrowding issue, including expanding two middle schools and reallocating grades from an elementary school to a middle school. However, these measures appear to have been insufficient, as evidenced by the continuing strain on the two aforementioned schools.

According to the meeting, a demographic study conducted two years ago had accurately predicted this overcrowding problem. In light of these concerns, a community member emphatically urged the board to prioritize this issue and allocate funds from the capital reserve in a targeted and effective manner. “There are two schools that are currently overcrowded. This is Redburn Elementary School and TJ Middle School. They are overcrowded by 10% each. That’s a lot,” the speaker emphasized. “So I urge you to use this money wisely to solve this specific problem and don’t spend it on some other, in the less urgent issues.”

Aside from the pressing topic of overcrowding, the meeting saw Dr. Rui Dionisio’s unanimous appointment as the new superintendent of Fair Lawn schools, following a rigorous selection process led by Mr. Mike Kuchar and Frank Oriemma from Strategic Educational Affairs. Out of an initial pool of 40 applications, the board had interviewed 12 candidates during an exhaustive process.

Dr. Dionisio, commended for his contributions in Bergen County, expressed his gratitude for the community’s steadfast commitment to its students. He remarked on the district’s focus on social-emotional learning and mental health, stating, “I admire the community’s commitment to its students and am enthusiastic about the alignment of our shared philosophies.” Dr. Dionisio pledged his full dedication to guiding the district in the coming months.

In addition, Lisa McClellan, representing the parent-teacher organization community, stressed the robust nature of the PTA groups in Fair Lawn and expressed a desire for increased collaboration with the school board.

Furthermore, FLASA, an organization dedicated to special needs, was acknowledged, with Ms. Bilgerowitz and Ms. Weinstein receiving recognition for their unwavering commitment to the cause.

Finally, attendees were reminded of the upcoming meeting on August 24th, with additional committee meetings hinted at for the future.

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