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Hatikvah School Exceeds Permitted Enrollment

The township Department of Planning and Engineering has notified the school that it is in violation of rules set by a use variance granted in 2011.

The Hatikvah International Academy Charter School may have another issue to deal with.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11,  Gregory Potkulski, director of the township Department of Planning and Engineering, sent the school a letter stating that its enrollment currently exceeds the limit set in a use variance granted the school on July 7, 2011.

“Testimony presented at the hearing indicated that total school enrollment would be limited to no more than 152 students,” state the letter. “Therefore, because total enrollment now exceeds that number, the applicant and property owner are in violation of the terms of the approval, and as a result, are in violation of the Township's land-use ordinance," said the letter.

“If the violation is not cured within 20 days of the date of this letter, the Township of East Brunswick reserves the right to take appropriate legal action that may include filing a complaint in municipal court, seeking injunctive relief, and/or seeking any other relief available under law," the letter continued.

Dan Gerstein, spokesman for Hatikvah, issued the following statement:

“The school is are aware of the concern and is reviewing the approved plans with the township's engineer to determine if any modifications are necessary."

Gerstein did not comment on the school's current enrollment.

According to the letter, the East Brunswick Zoning Board of Adjustment granted a use variance, as well as related bulk variances, to operate the school at 367 Cranbury Road. The area is a C-1 Professional Office District. The letter was sent to the school to notify it that it is in violation of the terms of that approval and to demand that the violations be fixed immediately.

On Tuesday, Potkulski said he had not been contacted by the school yet.

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Liti Haramaty September 30, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Some people are very happy - instead of paying for either private school or Hebrew lessons the got the rest of us to pay for them. Those of us who pay are not happy.
Stacy September 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
This is NOT instead of Hebrew School. My daughter still attends religious school for her Jewish education. There is NO religious education of any kind at Hatikvah. I do not know why people cannot seem to understand this. I still pay plenty for her Jewish education. This is PUBLIC school for secular education where they happen to have Hebrew Language instruction. Why is this considered different than a school that teaches Spanish, French, German, Chinese or any other language??
Liti Haramaty September 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Chinese and the other languages you mention are spoken by many millions of people around the world and knowing any of them is an asset to anyone. Hebrew is spoken by only about 7 million people, all of them speak at least one other language that is more widely used. (not including students of Hebrew schools who learn how to read so the can celebrate a Bar Mitzvah). There are more speakers of Zulu worldwide. How many of Hatikva parents would send their kids to a Zulu immersion school? If looked at the registration list when Hatikva was founded you know that the majority of kids came from Jewish private schools, not from the diverse and excellent EB public schools.
Kelly September 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Stacy, imagine for a second that the town has 10 parks that anyone can use, and enough money to pay for the upkeep of those ten parks. Now 50 people come to the township and ask to open another boutique park that will only serve those 50 people in town. And, now to afford that new boutique park, the other parks are left in disrepair because the town now has to pay for the 11 parks with the same budget. Would that really be okay with you? Why is this so confusing to you? We don't want to pay for this boutique school that only serves a tiny portion of our town. It is that simple. We do not need 9 elementary schools. Also, it is not cool for representatives of the school to go around bashing our public schools (and don't tell me they don't, because I've seen it with my owns eyes and I'm sure you have to) because it hurts our property values. Also, the financial strain that this school causes our other public schools can hurt our property values. There is no corollary savings for our other 8 public elementary schools and now we have two million dollars less to operate those schools with because we have to pay for your ridiculous boutique school.
Freddy September 30, 2012 at 05:44 PM
The fact that Michael Hill Goldstein was a founding board member of the school says it all. Stop denying that this school does not have a political agenda. Why else would the Hebrew Charter School Network and the Areivim Group put so much money into starting these schools up? I believe you when you say that the school itself does not teach religion. That is why a portion of the students leave school an hour earlier then the rest to attend religious schooling offsite. It is a loophole in the law so that you can provide Hebrew and religious education and siphon public dollars into a portion of the program. Michael Steinhardt has an agenda and sadly the students here are pawns in that agenda, now.

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