ERIC Number: ED396044
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Reducing the Number of New Jersey School Districts: Regionalization and Consolidation Options.
Public Affairs Research Inst. of New Jersey, Inc.
The relatively high number of school districts in New Jersey, with a legacy of a strong local home rule heritage, has been of interest to policymakers for many years. In the past few years, concerns for cost, educational equity, and program quality have brought new interest in consolidating these districts. Of the state's 603 local school districts, 281 have fewer than 1,000 students, and 146 have fewer than 500. It appears that limited progress toward school district consolidation could be achieved through strengthening financial incentives, facilitating public understanding of the advantages, eliminating statutory barriers, expanding state technical support, and encouraging regional approaches to such areas as transportation and school construction. This review of reports prepared for local districts, accompanied by interviews with district administrative personnel, offers a clearer picture of the regionalization process and its associated problems. Public perception does not favor regionalization at present, and the state's relatively high dependence on the property tax means that financial aid or financial penalties will probably be necessary to encourage mergers. Recommendations are made to encourage consolidation, by demonstrating that regional systems produce substantial operational savings, better program offerings, and improved facilities. It is noted that the smaller, poorer districts, those most likely to benefit from regionalization, are the least likely to be able to afford it. (Contains 2 figures and 6 tables.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Consolidated Schools, Educational Finance, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Financial Support, Mergers, Policy Formation, Public Opinion, School District Reorganization, School District Size, School District Wealth, School Districts, State Legislation
Public Affairs Research Institute of New Jersey, Inc., 212 Carnegie Center, Suite 100, Princeton, NJ 08540 ($15).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Affairs Research Inst. of New Jersey, Inc.
Identifiers: New Jersey