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Rutgers faculty voices opposition to potential sale of Lincoln Annex School

The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital has looked at the land occupied by the Lincoln Annex School as the potential location for the new Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. – Photo by Photo by Google Maps | The Daily Targum

More members of the New Brunswick community, as well as the Rutgers University faculty, have offered their thoughts on the potential sale of the Lincoln Annex School to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH). 

Todd Wolfson, president of the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) and Rutgers professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, spoke on the current situation.

“(The AAUP-AFT) supports further cancer research and education,” he said. “But we do not support it on the backs of New Brunswick students.”

Wolfson also said that if there is a plan to build the new Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey pavilion in place of the Lincoln Annex School, they should build a permanent school with equal amenities in the same area.

“When students are moved, it tends to have a big impact on them emotionally, it has an impact on their grades,” he said. “We believe the right thing for these three very wealthy organizations to do is to make sure they are in a very good school before breaking ground and building the new cancer pavilion.”

Lilia Fernandez, an associate professor of Latino and Carribean Studies in the Department of History, said that she learned about the potential selling of the Lincoln Annex School in December.

“What I have learned about the school board’s practices with the children of New Brunswick is I think they have done some pretty awful things in the past, including sending kids to school at a warehouse that has been converted,” she said. “I understand that’s what they're planning to do now with the children of Lincoln Annex School once they shut it down and turn that over to (Robert Wood Johnson) RWJ and the Cancer Institute.”

Fernandez also said that tearing down the school would be a large waste of resources after the money that was spent to build it in the first place.

“The ideal situation, of course, would be for them to leave the students in their current school,” she said. “The primary reason for that is that the New Brunswick Public Schools spent $22 million to purchase and renovate and open up that school, and so it seems like an enormous waste of resources and money in that case."

If the decision is made to sell the school, then the important thing is that it is built in the same neighborhood, Fernandez said. 

Danielle Moore, a parent in the New Brunswick community, had a child who attended the Warehouse School, the location they plan to send the students of Lincoln Annex if sold.

She said that the parents of children at the A.C. Redshaw Elementary School, an elementary school that had previously faced a similar situation to the Lincoln Annex, had been promised a new school and instead had to send their children to the Warehouse School.

Moore said that the distance of the Warehouse School makes it difficult for parents. 

“If your child missed the bus, it was ‘Wow, how am I going to get my child all the way to the other side of town to go to school,’” she said. “It was something I faced as a parent who doesn’t drive.”

She also said that she believes the children should stay at Lincoln Annex because getting adjusted takes time.

“This is one of the smartest schools in New Brunswick,” Moore said. “There is no area for them to build another school in New Brunswick, so basically the kids that go from the Lincoln Annex School to the Warehouse School will be there permanently.”

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