HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – A national website that analyzes the quality of public and private schools, colleges and universities has ranked the Hillsborough School District No. 3 in Somerset County and No. 15 out of 243 school districts in New Jersey.

The faculty at the nine schools in the district were rated No. 1 in Somerset County.

It’s a bit of good news in the midst of a school year that saw teacher layoffs, budget cuts, decreased state aid, an  impasse in negotiations between the Board of Education and the Hillsborough Education Association over a new contract and the resounding defeat of a March referendum that would have raised school taxes to pay for all-day kindergarten and help the school district stabilize its finances.

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More recently, parents were notified of a new “Pay to Play” policy that will require students to pay fees between $25 and $100 to participate in extra-curricular activities including varsity sports and clubs.

Despite the rift between the teachers’ union and school board, the study rated Hillsborough as the No.1 Best Place to Teach in Somerset County, while its teachers were also rated No. 1 out of 14 school districts in Somerset County, according to niche.com.

The study graded the school district’s overall performance in 10 categories:

Academics, A+; Teachers, A+;Clubs and Activities, A; Administration, A; Food, B-; Diversity, B+; College Prep, A+; Health and Safety, A; Sports, A; Resources and Facilities, B+.