Special Needs School Expansion Denied - New York News

Special Needs School Expansion Denied

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Peapack, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Why do Peapack-Gladstone residents oppose the expansion of a school that helps and educates the severely disabled?

The Matheny School Medical and Educational Center has been involved in a 5-year battle with the Borough’s Land Use Board.  The school has wanted to expand to serve more NJ children and improve their current facilities -and some people in the community have been fighting it.

 The Matheny School is a medical and educational center for the severely disabled.  The school has been a part of the Peapack, NJ community for over a half century.  Matheny's mission is "to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities.” 

Sean Murphy, the schools new principal says, "the state says that we have to get every child ready for college and careers, to the best of their capabilities, and we really try to do our best.”  

The CEO and President of the school, Steven Proctor explained the plan saying, “what we were planning to do was expand our facility, provide care for an additional 40 or so individuals in a new wing, and spread out the children here so that there are only 2 patients to a room.”

 Unfortunately, some community members campaigned against the expansion, some, even going so far as to put up signs on the roadside and at intersections.  Signs saying things like, "Matheny, Please Withdraw Your Lawsuit."

 Ultimately, the Superior Court judge in Somerset County upheld the board’s decision to not allow the expansion.  The main reason for the whole debate is said to be… traffic.

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