Call it politics or call it a typo.
Either way, a rumor going around that claims there are plans to close the Brick Community Primary Learning Center is not true, members of the township Board of Education said Thursday night.
The rumor can be traced to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resolution on the September board meeting agenda allowing the district to hire a demographer to complete a demographics study required by the state. The resolution, however, included language indicating that the study would focus on potentially closing the PLC or turning it into a K-5 grade school.
Board Vice President John Talty said the resolution that was placed on the agenda by Business Administrator James Edwards was apparently a copy of an old resolution from a 2007 demographic study authorization instead of one which reflected the simple demographic study that needs to be completed now.
"Draw your own conclusions," said Talty.
"My fellow board members and I are against closing the PLC, or making it into a grade school, period," he said.
Other board members said the rumor that the PLC would close can be traced to politics.
"All of us on this board want full-day kindergarten," said board member Walter Campbell.
"I have a granddaughter who's at the PLC now and I have another one coming in next year," he said. "It's typical politics, and it will never change in this district."
Board member Susan Suter said people were "spreading rumors and lies" with regard to the issue.
"I hope that the people who are spreading those rumors, if they want to attack me on something, attack me on something that I've actually said," said Suter.
Board President Sharon Cantillo said she reviewed the agenda prior to the September meeting and the resolution was not there, but soon she began getting calls and e-mails from worried parents and residents.
She checked the agenda again, and "lo and behold, there's a proposal on there," she said.
Board members do not personally load information onto the agendas posted on the district's website, officials said.
Cantillo said the rumors have persisted ever since, and recalled that during a previous election cycle, a false rumor was started regarding a potential closure of the district's Education Enrichment Center.
Brenda J. Calderone, a candidate for the board in the upcoming election, said during the public comment portion of Thursday night's meeting that board members alluding to political ties to the rumors amounts to "an attack on our personal credibility."
"If that rumor is going around, it didn't happen anywhere near the group I'm running with," she said.
Board member Larry Reid said the demographic study would actually serve as part of a larger plan to offer full-day kindergarten in the district, using the PLC.
"The reason we're doing the demographic study is because we want to do full-day kindergarten," said Reid. "It's probably the least expensive way to add a full-day kindergarten, and it's probably the best way."