Assembly Democratic Measure to Aid State-Controlled School Districts Clears Assembly Panel

Under a measure (A-657) passed on Thursday by the Assembly Education Committee, school districts under State intervention would be returned to local control if the district satisfies 80 percent or more of the required NJ Quality Single Accountability Continuum Standards (QSAC) in an area of district effectiveness.

The bill’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex), Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passiac) released the following joint statement:

“Once a school district is taken over by the State, it’s a very complicated process to return to local control. Districts must show significant improvement in areas evaluated by QSAC, including operations, personnel, governance, instruction and fiscal management. It’s no small feat, and often takes years – in the cases of Newark, Paterson and Jersey City, decades – to emerge from State control and regain authority to make decisions for their students and schools. Each of these districts saw very little improvement, if any.

“It’s incredibly frustrating for students, parents and educators to see their districts taken over indefinitely, particularly when a district makes tremendous strides and may no longer need intervention. This bill will clearly outline accessible standards for State-controlled districts to meet in order to take back local control. It likely wouldn’t take years of turmoil before a district could show it could operate well on its own.

“Schools districts like Paterson, Jersey City and Camden have earned the right to local control after many years of State takeover. At the end of the day, once a school district proves it can operate efficiently and deliver quality education, we want it to be in the hands of the community it serves.”