Is Regionalization Catching on in NJ?
A vote on a referendum that took place on Sept. 24 has created a single regional pre-K- Grade 12 school district for Lambertville, Stockton and West Amwell Township in the southern part of Hunterdon County. Gov. Chris Christie and many legislators have been urging consolidation for years as a way to lower New Jersey's highest-in-the-nation average property tax bills.
“I applaud the district for taking action that will offer significant educational opportunities and benefits for its students,” said Assembly Reed Gusciora who represents the district along with Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “Municipalities are learning that sharing or consolidating services is the key to bearing through the current economy.”
South Hunterdon School District formation follows the recent regionalization efforts combining the municipalities of Princeton and Princeton Township.
“Essentially, by consolidating, the districts have joined forces to better provide for their students and administrators,” said Watson Coleman. “It’s smart and forward-thinking. It puts educating our students first by acting to ensure district stability through cost sharing.”
Both lawmakers believe South Hunterdon will serve as a model for counties throughout the state exploring the idea of consolidation for towns in close proximity.
“We have seen first-hand the savings regionalization provides for taxpayers in other town,” said Gusciora. “Board members, administrators and supporter have done well.”