Montclair, N.J. – Montclair Public Schools have seen an increase in the number of legal cases filed against the district from parents seeking out of district placements and a loss of 459 students who dis-enrolled from the district during the 2020-2021 school year, according to a brief filed by Montclair Board of Education in its lawsuit against the Montclair Education Association.
The document states that on February 19, 2021, district parents filed on behalf of their special education student against the District for emergent relief and due process. The parents claim that their student significantly regressed as a result of being denied any in-person services, including no hybrid model instruction,
since March 2020. The parents are seeking not only compensatory services, but also attorney’s fees and the tuition cost of an out-of-district placement that is currently providing in-person instruction.
The District says it has also experienced “a dramatic increase in the number of students requiring partial
care facilities or temporary full-time residential facilities to address their mental health. The District has seen an increase in the number of students requiring home instruction or bedside instruction, which takes place at an inpatient or partial care facility. To date, the District has twenty-four (24) general education students and special education students on home instruction due to mental health issues. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of additional students placed in out-of-district therapeutic schools is nine (9).”
Enrollment reports show the district had 6,597 students during the 2019-2020 school year. During the 2020-2021 school year, 459 students left the Montclair Public School District, approximately 7% of students. Out of those 459, 246 are elementary students, according to an affidavit from Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds.
The document also states the District has “incurred $1,200,832.09 in expenditures for various repairs, equipment, supplies, and investigated work to remediate maintenance issues for the opening of schools.”
In conclusion, Machado states: “To avoid the continued immediate irreparable harm, we respectfully urge the Court to prohibit the Montclair Education Association from continuing its illegal strike and/or concerted effort to deny the District the required manpower and order the Montclair Education Association members to return to work at the school building, as instructed.”