The South Orange/Maplewood school district is consistently ranked among the top public school districts in New Jersey. The community is often voted one of the most desirable places to live. Add to that a diverse population, a great place to raise a family and a suburban experience without a bland atmosphere. What you end up with is an influx of families with school aged children. And difficulty in registering for school.
The current 2017/2018 school year proved to be difficult for some families to register their children. After early registration, grade levels at some of the elementary schools were filled and students had to register at a school outside of their zoned area during open registration. For example, we had clients this past summer who bought homes in the Tuscan and S. Mountain school catchment areas who closed in July. Their children are attending Seth Boyden for Kindergarten this year because their zones schools were already full.
This situation is expected to happen again during registration for the 2018/2019 school year. The South Orange/Maplewood school district will most likely have early registration again in February/March 2018 for the upcoming school year. Open registration is anticipated to begin in May 2018. Children turning 5 on or before October 1, 2018 are entitled to attend school beginning in September 2018. To register, parents/guardians must submit a fully completed registration packet, in person, to the Office of Registration, located at 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, during the enrollment dates.
Ms. Tiffani Barnes, the district registrar, agrees that the best way to ensure that your child gets into the school they are zoned for is to have all the paperwork, including proof of home ownership, immunization and some current bills, ready for early registration, and to sign your child up during that period. What this means is, if you are planning to move into the area or into a different neighborhood, you need to close on your new home by January 2018 in order to participate in early registration to have the best chance of attending your zoned school. You can click here to look at the 2017/2018 registration packet as an example, which includes the district’s registration requirements and a Document Checklist. Ms. Barnes does not yet know when the packet will be available for the 2018/2019 school year.
As for busing your children to school…the state requires busing for any elementary student living 2 miles or more from school. The district requirement is 1 mile or more. This policy may be changed because of the current situation. If you don’t get your children into your zoned school, the district will try to place them in the geographically closest school to avoid busing. There is busing in place for Seth Boyden students district wide as well as Seth Boyden students who opt in to Marshall Jefferson, but there is no guarantee for busing to other schools.
We will keep you updated as this situation develops.