By: Jillian Zimmer, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – A state grant is available to incentivize New Jersey school districts to merge with neighboring communities in hopes to lower property taxes.
The bill provides school districts with incentives to study regionalization and establishes a grant program within DCA’s Division of Local Government Services for cost reimbursement of school district regionalization feasibility studies.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Division of Local Government Services (DLGS), and the Shared Services Czars will lead the program. Their studies will explore how districts could merge if a potential merger would result in cost savings and other benefits for taxpayers.
Superintendent of Delsea Regional School District, Dr. Piera Gravenor, explained, “I firmly believe that merging all the districts is far better for students and their learning through a unified curriculum and vision.”
Regionalization of New Jersey schools has increased over the years when the Legislature made changes to statutes as a way to encourage school districts to regionalize. One important factor for schools to make the transition is based upon tax allocation. Meaning, if communities cannot be guaranteed tax savings, they often aren’t willing to give up local control over their schools. However, regionalization has been known for educational benefits as well.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ grant program will support the creation and expansion of regional school districts by providing reimbursement of eligible costs associated with conducting feasibility studies.
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