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Riverside board is split on Montessori school’s numbers

Riverside – The Riverside Board of Trustees was split again over the number of students allowed at a Montessori school and private home during a transition period around lunchtime at their meeting Thursday.

The issue first came before the board at their April 3 meeting after Richard and Milagros Andrews requested a special use permit to represent themselves as a private Montessori school in hopes of getting a school zone sign posted on their block.

Trustees unanimously approved their request at the meeting, but confusion stemmed over how many students were in the Andrew’s private home – which operates as a day care and a school – at a given time. 

The Andrews told trustees during lunchtime the number of kids in the home could exceed eight when afternoon session students were arriving and morning session students were leaving. 

In hopes of clarification, the matter of whether the Andrews’ program could be allowed a transition period where they could exceed their village limit of only being allowed to house eight children at a time, was sent back to the village’s Plan Commission for review.

Despite a passionate statement from trustee Joe Ballerine on the couple’s behalf after he visited the home and school, trustees debated what precedent allowing an exemption for the Andrews would set.

Trustees called for a vote that would allow the extra children to be in the home only during an hour-long transition time on a temporary, trial basis. Ultimately, the measure failed to pass with votes between trustees split and President Ben Sells casting the deciding vote against. Trustees Jean Sussman, Mike Foley and Ballerine voted in favor.

Students at the school and day care will have to wait outside so that the number of students in the residence at a give time remains at eight, or the Andrews will need to schedule accordinly so the number does not exceed their limit.

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