Burzichelli: Make School District Consolidation a Priority

Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem), vice-chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, issued the following statement after raising concerns about school district consolidation during a Wednesday hearing on the proposed budget for the Department of Education:

“In a state with more than 600 public school districts and the highest property taxes in the nation, it’s clear that this administration needs to be far more proactive about the process of regionalizing and consolidating school districts.

“The administration knows full well that the law requires executive county superintendents to plan for consolidation in the interest of lowering property taxes. Evidently, its repeated verbal commitment to reaching this goal has failed to align with the reality in our state, even though a realistic means of achieving it was signed into law eight years ago, with plans from the counties due five years ago.

“One in four school districts in New Jersey serves fewer than 500 students. These young men and women certainly could receive the same quality education at less of a cost to their parents – to the tune of millions in savings – if they attended school in larger districts.

“The law has laid the foundation for the state to ease the long-term tax burden on New Jersey families, and it’s high time for the administration to enforce it on their behalf.”