Taxpayer money is tighter than ever; the two percent state-mandated spending cap has already forced many schools to eliminate gifted and talented programs, languages, elective classes and extra-curricular activities. Many of our 602 separate school districts can no longer provide cost effective and efficient management of our schools.
But there is one grassroots effort in New Jersey that is trying to find ways to better serve their students and ensure a more sustainable future for their schools. On Sept. 24 the voters of Lambertville, Stockton and West Amwell in Hunterdon County will decide if they want to dissolve their existing South Hunterdon Regional high school and authorize the creation of a regional pre K-12 district. South Hunterdon’s journey began six years ago. All four school boards —facing ever-increasing costs — began investigating the advantages to students and taxpayers of becoming a single school district with one administration and a unified curriculum. They formed the South Hunterdon Regionalization Committee to study the benefits of combining the educational resources of three pre K-6 school districts and one 7-12 district. Voters became part of the collaborative effort by approving a referendum to fund a study to assess potential educational improvements and administrative efficiencies.