Sussex Tech-Sparta High idea rejected

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    SPARTA-It was a matter of too little too late. The Sussex County Technical School Board of Education has too little land to offer the Sparta Board of Education for a proposed new high school and working out a joint campus with shared facilities will take too long. That was the outcome of a joint board meeting between Sussex Tech and Sparta boards of education Tuesday night. "This was our last grasp," said Sparta Superintendent Thomas Morton, who had hoped to work with the Sussex Tech board on a quick and easy solution to finding land to build a new high school. But none of the proposed solutions n from buying land for a separate school adjacent to Sussex Tech, to buying Tech's buildings outright, to sharing some facilities n were found to be easy. And none could be agreed upon in the few weeks that Sparta has to have a plan in place to qualify for $15 million in state funding. "My feeling is what you have to offer us is not what we can take away and do what we need to do," Morton said at the end of the 90-minute meeting. "In my mind we have to pursue other options." Working jointly with Sussex Tech was one of the remaining options to the overcrowding problem in Sparta schools, board members said. The board has worked for the past eight months checking off a list of nine options to build a new high school, the latest being an attempt to buy land from a willing seller, board members said. It is estimated that 60 acres is needed for a high school and all of its inclusions. Morton said he believed when they first considered working with Sussex Tech that the technical school was in trouble and in risk of shutting down. However, early in Tuesday's meeting, the Sussex Tech Superintendent Joseph Cammarata put that rumor to rest by reading a board approved resolution that listed the school's successes, expansion and its own increasing enrollment. Cammarata and Sussex Tech board members said they were open to selling two 25-acre pieces of land on its campus to Sparta schools and possibly sharing some facilities, if engineers could put together a satisfactory plan. However, they were urged by several members of the audience to not rush into a decision that would result in a huge multi-school complex, or give up land for its own expansion plans.