A video meeting was held on May 22nd with representatives from the NJ Department of Education (lead Dr Julie Bunt, Chief of Staff), the Board of NJDH and the Board’s attorney, Monica Vir, participating. The discussion was about the NJDH proposal to renovate the vacant dormitory Building 24 into low income senior housing for the Deaf and DeafBlind at the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf. NJDH was very happy to hear that there was support for this proposal from many of the NJ government departments. However, Dr.Bunt from the NJ DOE told us that there remain concerns within the NJ DOE about this proposal. NJDH requested that Dr. Bunt send a list or overview of these concerns. NJDH wants to address these concerns thoughtfully but quickly and incorporate into a draft lease agreement. After more than a year waiting to obtain a long term lease, NJDH is concerned that further delay will jeopardize the wonderful opportunity to renovate this vacant building and further the long history of the dedication of the Katzenbach School from only students to the entire range of ages in the NJ Deaf community.
Unfortunately, a month after the meeting and two requests including one from NJDH’s attorney, Dr. Bunt still has not responded. This type of delay and lack of response has been the pattern when trying to work with the NJ government. NJDH copied NJ State Senator A. Bucco on these requests. Senator Bucco has been very helpful to move the proposal from the NJ Attorney General’s office where it remained for almost a year. NJDH remains committed to this project.