State Monitor Orders Asbury’s Barack Obama School Closed

Nancy Shields, Asbury Park Press, March. 18, 2011

The century-old Bangs Avenue School . . . renamed for President Barack Obama just a year ago . . . will be closed as a neighborhood school this summer, largely because of a steep slide in the district’s total enrollment the past decade.

Bruce N. Rodman, the state-appointed monitor who oversees the district’s finances, Thursday ordered that elementary students be reassigned to the city’s two other elementary schools as of July 1.

According to a plan presented at a community meeting Monday night, all kindergarten-through-fourth-grade students living west of Comstock Street would go to Bradley Elementary School at 1100 Third Ave., and those east of Comstock would attend Thurgood Marshall Elementary at 600 Monroe Ave.

Fifth-graders would be moved to the middle school.

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The fiscal monitor had indicated some action was imminent after Superintendent of Schools Denise Lowe could not get the Board of Education’s backing Wednesday night for an alternative plan to create two pre-kindergarten-to-third-grade learning centers at two elementary schools and send all fourth- and fifth-graders to the third school, thereby keeping all three schools open.

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Rodman said in a letter to district officials that he concluded the closing of the Obama school to be the best option. He cited a 35 percent drop in enrollment the past 10 years.

Lowe reported at the community meeting that enrollment had dropped from 2,783 eight years ago to 2,063 in October 2010, and was now under 1,900 students.ยน4

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The district plans to keep the Obama name as it uses the school building in a different way.

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