TRENTON, NJ - Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) and Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) establishing a school district regionalization task force to evaluate the issues and benefits of consolidating school districts has been approved by the Senate Education Committee.
“Developing and implementing solutions to create an efficient, sustainable school system is an essential pathway to lowering New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes,” Bateman said.
“We have a responsibility to explore every possible avenue for reducing this immense financial burden," he added. "This task force will provide invaluable insight on a complex issue that carries great potential to reduce duplicative costs while still enhancing educational opportunities and programs for all students.”
The Bateman and Kyrillos bill establishes a 16-member Task Force on School District Regionalization. The task force, which must issue a report to the governor and legislature on its findings, will:
- Review existing research, studies, and data concerning the regionalization of school districts;
- Identify challenges associated with the regionalization of school districts including financing of feasibility studies, issues associated with school district governance and financing, and the integration of curriculum, programs and staff;
- Identify and review benefits of regionalization including potential cost savings and the ability to offer a wider array of educational programs, services and extracurricular activities;
- Identify incentives to encourage school districts to regionalize as well as obstacles that discourage school districts from entering into regional school district arrangements.
“New Jersey has more school districts than municipalities, including more than 100 districts containing just one school,” Kyrillos said. “Taking a comprehensive look at the benefits and challenges of regionalization brings us one step closer to providing much-needed relief for overtaxed families across the Garden State.”