School meant to ease overcrowding to open at half capacity

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A new $54 million school meant to ease overcrowding in a district will open for the first day at only half its capacity.

School 26 in Jersey City was built for 770 students from pre-K to fifth grade, but current enrollment is at 350 students, The Jersey Journal reported . The school will not reach full capacity until 2025.

The district originally planned to adjust neighborhood boundaries to fill the new school, but hesitant parents led to the school board choosing to phase in enrollment.

School Board president Joel Torres said he thought of the phase-in plan "to make sure we're not rushing into it."

Board member Luis Felipe Fernandez voted against the plan, saying eight years is too long.

The state-funded school was built to alleviate overcrowding in the district, which has 28,000 students. A spokeswoman for the state Schools Development Authority declined to comment on the plan to keep it at full capacity.

District spokeswoman Maryann Dickar also declined to comment on the change in plans. The district has renovated one school building to make it a preschool and created more space for preschool students at another building, which Dickar said will help with overcrowding.

There will be "many more students" at School 26 when it opens next week, Dickar said.


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