State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) has introduced legislation that would, if passed in the state Assembly and Senate and signed into law by the governor, require the state 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.
In a press release, Gopal said he is “aiming to cut administrative costs and promote a uniform curriculum for students. Studies have shown 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.
“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 we can shrink school expenses while supporting the dedicated teachers who work hard to help our children learn,” Gopal said.
The bill (S-3790) 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 K-12 configuration and to merge those school districts with other school districts. The plan must include recommended legislation, according to the press release.
Gopal represents the 11th Legislative District in the state Senate. The municipalities in the district are Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Deal, Eatontown, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.