Suzy Kass, executive director of the Adult School of Montclair, told Montclair Patch that the school may have to close within the next 18 months if it can't persuade the Montclair Board of Education to provide more support.
After years of mostly "breaking even," she says the Adult School of Montclair took a huge hit last year when the Montclair Board of Education—facing its own financial challenges—decided that the Adult School would have to start covering the costs of its employees' health and benefit plans.
Previously, those costs—estimated at about $55,000—were funded by the school district.
"We could only last another one and a half years on the budget we have now," Kass said.
Kass and Jon Bonesteel, the head of the school's Board of Trustees, want the Board of Education to give the Adult School five years to start covering the health and benefit costs.
The Adult School has three full-time employees and one part-time employee.
"We want the board to give us five years to phase this in," Bonesteel said.
Kass emphsaized that the school is not out to make money.
"We're a break-even institution," she said. "We don't want to raise tuition.
"We've already raised tuition the last three semesters in a row," she added.
On Sunday, the Adult School of Montclair sent out an email asking residents to turn out at Monday night's school board meeting to show their support for the Adult School.
"We need the MBOE to partner with us as we retool to meet the additional costs it now requires us to assume," the email said.
At the board meeting, Kass and Bonesteel plan to release the Adult School's five-year plan "for self-reliance and community dynamism."
Currently, the Adult School's budget is about $500,000. The school pays the district about $30,000 to rent its facilities.
Kass said that the Adult School, which already offers more than 200 live classes, would like to add even more classes to its schedule in the future.
"We really want to build this program, working with schools and other partners," she said.
Bonesteel added that the goal is to make the school "significant and not just successful."
The Adult School also has asked its supporters to go on its website here to sign a petition in support of the school.
The school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5 at the high school's George Inness Annex Atrium at 141 Park Street.