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Tech School District Eyes NJ Aid to Boost Courses

The Cape May Technical School District is looking to bolster its courses through state grant funding. 

By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – The Cape May County Technical School District is applying for funding under a state bond act that, if approved, would fund 75% of $5.7 million to teach a variety of budding careers. 

Dr. Nancy Hudanich, district superintendent, made the presentation to the Board of County Commissioners Feb. 9, at their caucus meeting held via the internet. 

At the board’s regular meeting later in the afternoon, it passed a supporting resolution needed to enable the district to make an application by March 1 for part of the “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act.” The state’s share would be $4.23 million, while the county’s pledged share would be $1.43 million. 

Hudanich noted the three-year program, for grades 10-12, of Environmental Science and Sustainability would be a multi-disciplinary program focusing on applications of biology, chemical, and physical principles to study the environment and solution of environmental problems.  

Those would include stopping or controlling pollution and interaction between humans and nature, as well as natural resource management.  

She added the program would integrate physical and life sciences with emerging technologies touching on conservation, ecology, hydrology meteorology, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), something the county focused on at the Cape May County Airport, in Erma, to bolster the economy. 

Some of the district’s present programs, including culinary arts and hospitality, aren’t drawing students as they formerly did, Hudanich said.  

Those classes are “…basically dwindling because they’re not exciting. To have a career, you have to show it’s relative to the real world,” said Hudanich. Those classes formerly had 20 to 30 students for the three levels.  

“We’re dwindling. It needs a boost. We’re big on sustainability. We’re big on eco-tourism. We need to have a conference center no bigger than the mini-conference center in Cape May,” she added. The district would not compete with Wildwoods Convention Center.  

Hudanich views “Crest Haven as the heart of the county. Its location is so convenient off the (Garden State) Parkway.” 

While the district is 106 years old, as of Feb. 16, Hudanich said, the district’s first graduation of full-time students was in 1997. 

“We haven’t had an exciting new career in a long time, and education today is an ark because kids have to be motivated to learn. The goal is to keep them getting better, she said.  

“It’s an opportunity to have to pay only 25%,” said Hudanichmeaning the state Department of Education would pay 75% of the program. 

Not only would state approval mean added classes, but it would also include renovations to the present facility; however, they would not be included in the local 25% share. 

Those renovations would provide parents, guardians, and other adults having business at the school, with secure entry to offices without entering classroom areas. 

Hudanich will likely not know by March 23, when district officials will go before the Board of School Estimate for next year’s budget, whether the district received the grant. However, this year’s request would include capital funding for the renovations to the guidance department and other administrative areas. 

“What’s really great, it’s an introduction to higher education,” stated Commissioner Director Gerald Thornton of the program.  

The proposal also drew praise from Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio, who noted the need for a centrally located site for Police Academy graduations. They have been held at Middle Township Performing Arts Center and in Lower Cape May Regional High School’s Performing Arts Center. 

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