The Department of Community Affairs issued grants to four school districts exploring regionalization, moving forward a long-held goal intended to reduce the costs of public education in New Jersey.
The $470,000 in grants will go to fund regionalization feasibility studies in Belvidere and Hunterdon County’s Union Township school district, as well as in two regional high schools in Sussex and Gloucester counties.
“We’ve seen firsthand the tremendous benefits that can result when neighboring towns and schools work together to share their resources and services. So, we are pleased that these school districts are taking the time to seriously research regionalization to see if it makes sense for their communities,” Nicholas Platt and Jordan Glatt, who are overseeing the Murphy administration’s shared services plan, said in a statement.
Officials have long viewed regionalization — the process of combining towns or school districts — as a means of reducing public spending. By combining districts, states can reduce spending on administration, staffing, and transportation, they say.
New Jersey spends more on education per pupil than all but four states in the nation, and school aid accounts for the largest share of the state’s annual budget, more than $20 billion.
Education spending is also a main driver of New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes. Those bills averaged $9,490 in 2022, according to Department of Community Affairs statistics. School taxes accounted for nearly 53% of property taxes that year.
Source : New Jersey Monitor