OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Aiming to cut administrative costs and promote a uniform curriculum for students, Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) introduced legislation last Thursday that would require the Commissioner of Education to study the most efficient and effective means of consolidating school districts, with the exception of Pre-K- or K-12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts.
“Studies have shown that the consolidation of K-5 and K-8 schools into K-12 districts is one of the most powerful tools we have for cutting education costs and saving taxpayer dollars,” Gopal said.
“Not only would consolidation reduce high-cost administrative jobs and redundant work while increasing shared services, consolidated districts would also be able to create uniform curricula to ensure that each child is equally prepared as they move from elementary or middle school to the following grade.
“Should this bill become law, I look forward to reviewing the recommendations made in the Commissioner’s report to help our schools consolidate efficiently and effectively. By using an approach that prioritizes gradual attrition over large-scale turnover, I believe that we can both shrink school expenses while supporting the dedicated teachers who work hard to help our children learn.”
The bill provides the Commissioner of Education with two years to develop and submit to the Governor and Legislature a comprehensive master plan to phase out school districts that do not have a preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 configuration and to merge those school districts with other school districts. The plan must include recommended legislation.