In an unexpected move, the Wayne Board of Education voted to shut down the at a meeting Thursday night.
The matter of the school’s future was a late edition to the meeting agenda. The board voted 5-3 in favor of eliminating the school. Trustees Jane Hutchinson, Mitch Badiner, and Alan Mordkoff voted against the move.
The school annually offers hundreds of personal-enrichment courses. District officials said the school has been operating at a deficit for the past three years. The school in the previous two academic years.
Superintendent Ray Gonzalez did not know how much the school lost this past year.
“You can’t keep running something continuously at a deficit,” said board President Donald Pavlak Jr. “It is a program that has been losing money. We’re taking money away from our students.”
Only the adult school will cease to exist. The district’s other community programs, before- and after-school care, extended day, summer camps, and safety town will continue that are held in the same building will continue.
“I think with a little tender loving care we’d be able to turn it back into the black again,” said Hutchinson before the vote was taken. She was the most outspoken of the trustees who voted to keep running the school.
Officials began how viable the program was in December.
At first, the board did not ask the three district employees who run the community programs, including director Pat Brown-Kneisel, youth specialist Shari Parker, and secretary Cathy Heck, to return to the district, two of them, Parker and Heck have since been.
Gonzalez said officials have not asked Brown-Kneisel to return.
Board trustees said that Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) already offers many of the same classes the school used to.
Board trustee Robert Ceberio mentioned having PCTI offer some of its community programs at the school's former building on Hamburg Turnpike. He said officials need to sit down with representatives from PCTI to discuss the matter.