With the new home of the Mother Teresa Academy on Route 146 still nowhere near ready, about 50 students from pre-kindergarten through second grade are spending today at various homes around town on their second day of school.
Academy director and founder Joyce Maddalone said the children are “scattered,” after a full-group meeting Monday at the principal’s house brought a warning from the town about the non-permitted business use of a private home.
“We’re a private school; we can have the kids meet any place we want them to,” Maddalone said. “They’re not in school uniforms.”
Meanwhile, contractors at the academy site cancelled an inspection by the town Building Department scheduled for later this afternoon. The inspection would have checked framing, rough electrical and plumbing completion. According to construction manager Hank Maddalone, Joyce Maddalone’s husband, work is continuing around the clock by crews of 5-10 people. Hank Maddalone estimated the work could be completed in two weeks.
Joyce Maddalone said she has been calling local churches to find space for classes, and leaders of the Christ Community Reformed Church on Route 146 will meet tonight to vote on opening their religious classroom space to academy students.
Founders of the school, previously located at another town church, took over the former pediatrician’s office on May 23, but did not receive a building permit until September 5. Joyce Maddalone said the town processed their renovation applications too slowly for major work to begin over the summer, but town officials said delays were caused by incomplete plans submitted throughout the summer by school officials.
Before the building can receive a certificate of occupancy from the town, major fire safety requirements must be met, as well as accessibility for handicapped students and having fully operational sewer and water service.
State Education Department regulations do not hold nonpublic schools to the same regulations as public schools. However, certain state laws do apply, particularly for fire inspections and other health and safety hazards.
Tuition for Mother Teresa Academy is $3,500 a year.
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