Letters to the Editor

Millburn Schools for Millburn Residents


It is no accident that many New Jersey school districts, such as Kenilworth, Ridgewood and Tenafly, have used re-registration programs to eliminate nonresident students from their schools. Students attending schools outside of their home municipalities cost school districts millions of dollars and unfairly burden local taxpayers. Equally important, they take away resources and opportunities from in-town students.

Since September, residents have raised this issue repeatedly at Board of Education meetings, yet school administrators and BOE members have not addressed the issue publicly. At the December 16, 2013 meeting, I expressed my concerns and shared research to date showing how Greenwich public schools and 19 New Jersey public schools have initiated programs to re-registered students to address this problem. 

Currently, parents of Millburn students are asked to verify residency only once, when they enter our school for the first time, regardless of grade. No further proof of residency is required. Enforcement is ad hoc with school professionals investigating suspected violations on an individual basis.

Sign Up for E-News

Therefore, parents of a Kindergarten student can prove residency initially, then move out of town, and receive our 13-year education presently costing taxpayers $234,000 (today’s estimated cost of $18,000/year), unless caught by school officials. Or, parents of an incoming 9th grader, can prove residency by renting an apartment or house, then move out of town or even share addresses, and get a Millburn High School education costing taxpayers $72,000.

During almost seven years on the Millburn Board of Education, I do not recall any nonresident student case coming before the Board, until recently. According to the Board’s November 25, 2013 minutes and reported in the 1/16/14 The Item, three students were found “not domiciled in Millburn.” Now, will the Board seek back tuition, and for how many years, as may be assessed in Board Policy 5111 – Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students? Is this a coincidence that this happened only after public disclosure of this important issue?

The current policy with no re-registration and only ad-hoc investigations is flawed for three reasons. First, it is simply unfair since it singles out individual students on the basis of suspicion or tips. Second, it is ineffective because the fact that such investigations found students who should not be here proves that we have these students in our system. How many more are there? Nobody really knows. Third, at $18,000 spent per student per year by taxpayers, these numbers matter.

In 2011, Tenafly saved almost $2 million dollars in one year finding 142 nonresident students who later withdrew. Student enrollment numbers ARE the basis for Millburn’s proposed $82 million 2014-2015 school budget (initial draft presented 1/13/2014) and any referendum for expansion. Since there is no on-going residency verification process in place, neither the BOE nor Administration knows which students are legally domiciled here and which are not. K-12 student re-registration should be mandated for an annual budget and any proposed referendum.

Because the current practice is unfair and ineffective, I recently proposed a systematic K-12 re-registration process for all students. This would determine how many students actually are eligible to attend Millburn Schools. It would also deter families who plan to register their children without adequate proof of residency and be fair to all students.

Two school districts have spent from $8,000 to $25,000 to complete this process, well below the cost of educating 1-2 nonresident students annually. Since the Administration already has hired a District registrar and several security personnel, the staffing for a re-registration program is already in place. There are also online verification systems available for this purpose highlighted in the NJ School Board Association press sent monthly to all Board members.

While our Township officials annually require residents to re-register and prove residency every year to use our Town pool, I do not understand why our school officials do not do the same for all students to attend our schools.

We need to make certain that only Millburn residents are enrolled in Millburn schools. District-wide student residency verification should reduce our costs while freeing up school resources for Millburn’s children. Our Board of Education needs to act in a fiduciary manner and direct the Administration to immediately craft a cohesive plan for a District-wide re-registration program to meet the residency standards set by Millburn Board of Education policy and the laws of the State of New Jersey.

Lise Chapman

28 Northern Drive

Short Hills

Township resident since 1987 and past member of the Board of Education, 2007-2013.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Video: Scoutmaster Ken Fineran Street Dedication Ceremony

May 21, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Township and Boy Scout Troop 17 of St. Rose of Lima honored the life and accomplishments of late Scoutmaster Kenneth W. Fineran on Sunday, May 20. Troop 17 Scouts, in conjunction with Millburn Township and St. Rose of Lima Church.

Vehicle Stolen from Residence; Millburn Police Department Investigating

May 10, 2018

On May 2, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Barbosa responded to Neiman Marcus on a theft report. Neiman Marcus personnel report a black male wearing a black jumpsuit with the word “Kappa” on the front, and a black male wearing a blue shirt with the word “Champion” on the front each took a backpack valued at $1195.00 each and left the store without making payment. The incident ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Upcoming Millburn Township Committee Primary Election

May 12, 2018

Dear Fellow Millburn and Short Hills Residents,

Having given the selection of a candidate for the upcoming Millburn Township Committee primary election some serious thought, I have come to the conclusion that Corey Biller has the credentials to move the Township forward in a positive manner.

I know that Corey will bring a new and positive sensibility to the Committee, one that is ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, May 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Understanding Hearing Loss

Health & Wellness


Wed, May 30, 6:15 PM

Millburn High School (Back grass fields), Millburn

Millburn Color Run

Arts & Entertainment Education Giving Back Other


Wed, June 6, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Mindfulness Approach to Stress

Health & Wellness


Sat, June 9, 2:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

"It Might as Well Be Swing" at Millburn Free ...

First Millburn Spring Festival Coming to Taylor Park

May 21, 2018

The Indian American Association of Millburn and Short Hills and The South Mountain Civic Association are organizing the 1st Millburn Spring Festival in Taylor park and Bauer Center on Sunday, June 10th, 2018 from 1-4 PM. The entire community is invited to a fun filled afternoon with many Millburn downtown restaurants setting up food stalls, Henna tattoo artist, Face painting and live Indian Music ...

Suicide Awareness and Intervention Training coming to Millburn Library May 23

Caring Contact, a crisis hotline that serves Northern and Central New Jersey, will host Suicide Awareness and Intervention Training at the Millburn Library on May 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. There is no cost for this training but space is limited so registration is recommended.


To register, visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/SuicideAwarenessSpring2018.


Caring contact's ...

Uber & Mack-Cali Partnership Expands to Four New Locations in Short Hills

NEW JERSEY - Uber and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (NYSE: CLI) are announcing the expansion of their relationship to include a commuter ridesharing partnership at four commercial properties in Short Hills, NJ. Similar to a program that was announced in February at Mack-Cali’s properties in Metropark, the partnership caters to the modern office worker’s desire to live a car-free, ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...