Bill Text: NJ S3755 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires executive county superintendent of schools to establish consolidation plan to combine all school districts in county, other than preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 2-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-05-16 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee [S3755 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3755-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3755

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 16, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

Senator  DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.

District 13 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires executive county superintendent of schools to establish consolidation plan to combine all school districts in county, other than preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning school district regionalization and supplementing chapter 7 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.     The executive county superintendent of schools shall establish a plan within 12 months of the effective date of this act to consolidate all districts in the county, other than preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts. 

     b.    Within 3 months of the effective date of this act, school districts within the county may voluntarily determine, upon adoption of a resolution by all the affected boards of education, to form an all-purpose regional district or enlarge an existing all-purpose regional district.  The voluntary plans developed pursuant to this subsection may occur without consideration of a district's membership in an existing regional district or participation in a sending-receiving relationship on the effective date of this act.  The executive county superintendent shall take into consideration to the greatest extent possible these voluntary plans in establishing the county school district consolidation plan pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

     c.     The executive county superintendent, after establishing the school district consolidation plan pursuant to subsection a. of this section, shall commission a feasibility study for each all-purpose regional district established or enlarged under the consolidation plan and pay the costs of the feasibility study.  The executive county superintendent shall also pay the costs of any feasibility study for the establishment of an all-purpose regional district commissioned within 12 months prior to the effective date of this act.  The feasibility study commissioned by the executive county superintendent pursuant to this act shall contain but not be limited to:

     (1)   A general description of the proposed regional school district, including the names of the constituent school districts, school buildings and grade levels by school district, and the area of the total proposed regional school district;

     (2)   The proposed structure of the new district board of education of the proposed regional school district that ensures representation from all constituent communities;

     (3)   An analysis of administrative staffing, collective bargaining agreements, and compensation guides of the constituent school districts and recommendations and guidance for the proposed regional school district on these issues;

     (4)   An analysis of each proposed constituent school district's educational program and recommendations and guidance for establishing the educational program of the proposed regional school district;

     (5)   An analysis of potential opportunities for greater effectiveness and efficiency;

     (6)   An analysis of socioeconomic and demographic information including, but not limited to:

     (a)   current and projected enrollment data for the succeeding five school years by location, school, and grade, and for the proposed regional school district as a whole;

     (b)   enrollment data by location, school, and grade showing the student population's current racial composition and the resulting racial composition for the proposed regional school district as a whole;

     (c)   enrollment data showing the school food service eligibility status of the student population by location, school, and grade, and for the proposed regional school district as a whole; and

     (d)   attendance areas by school building and grade, current and projected enrollment of the constituent school districts, and recommended grade configurations and attendance areas for each existing and proposed school building, if applicable, of the proposed regional school district;

     (7)   A comparison of the estimated State aid and property tax impact for the proposed regional school district and the sum of State aid and property taxes for the constituent school districts;

     (8)   A comprehensive financial analysis of current and projected spending, local community wealth, debt limit, and current debt burden; and

     (9)   If any of the constituent members of the proposed regional district would be leaving another regional district or a sending-receiving relationship with a school district which is not a member of the proposed regional district, a comprehensive analysis of the financial and educational condition, and effect on the racial composition, of the school districts which are not a part of the proposed regional district.

     d.    The feasibility studies shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Education. 

     (1)   If the commissioner approves a feasibility study, by July 1 of the second full school year following the approval, the all-purpose regional school district shall be established or enlarged in accordance with the procedures set forth in chapter 13 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, other than the requirement for voter approval;

     (2)   If the commissioner does not approve a feasibility study, the commissioner shall determine the appropriate regionalization plan for the districts included in the feasibility study, and the all-purpose regional school district determined by the commissioner shall be established or enlarged by July 1 of the third full school year following the commissioner's determination in accordance with the procedures set forth in chapter 13 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, other than the requirement for voter approval.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require the executive county superintendent of schools to establish a plan for the consolidation of all districts in the county, other than preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 districts, into all-purpose regional school districts.  The plan would be required to be completed within 12 months of the bill's effective date.  Prior to the executive county superintendent establishing the consolidation plan, however, the bill provides districts in the county with a three-month period to voluntarily adopt a plan for the formation of an all-purpose regional district or enlargement of an existing one.  These voluntary plans must be adopted by a resolution of each participating district and may occur without consideration of a district's membership in a regional district or participation in a sending-receiving relationship on the bill's effective date.  The executive county superintendent is required to take into consideration to the greatest extent possible these voluntary plans in establishing the county consolidation plan.

     After establishing the consolidation plan, the executive county superintendent will commission a feasibility study for each all-purpose regional district established or enlarged under the plan and pay the costs of the feasibility study.  The bill additionally provides that the executive county superintendent will pay the costs of any feasibility study for the establishment of an all-purpose regional school district which was commissioned within 12 months prior to the bill's effective date.

     The bill includes a list of items that must be included in the feasibility study including:

     (1)   A general description of the proposed regional school district;

     (2)   The proposed structure of the new district board of education;

     (3)   An analysis of administrative staffing, collective bargaining agreements, and compensation guides of the constituent school districts and recommendations and guidance for the proposed regional school district on these issues;

     (4)   An analysis of each proposed constituent school district's educational program and recommendations and guidance for establishing the educational program of the proposed regional school district;

     (5)   An analysis of potential opportunities for greater effectiveness and efficiency;

     (6)   An analysis of socioeconomic and demographic information;

     (7)   A comparison of the estimated State aid and property tax impact for the proposed regional school district and the sum of State aid and property taxes for the constituent school districts;

     (8)   A comprehensive financial analysis of current and projected spending, local community wealth, debt limit, and current debt burden; and

     (9)   If any of the constituent members of the proposed regional district would be leaving another regional district or a sending-receiving relationship with a school district which is not a member of the proposed regional district, a comprehensive analysis of the financial and educational condition, and effect on the racial composition, of the school districts which are not a part of the proposed regional district.

     Under the bill, the feasibility studies must be submitted to the Commissioner of Education for his approval.  If the commissioner approves the feasibility study, by July 1 of the second full school year following the approval, the all-purpose regional school district will be established or enlarged in accordance with the laws governing regional school districts, except no voter approval will be required.  If, however, the commissioner does not approve a feasibility study, the commissioner will be required to determine an appropriate regionalization plan for the districts covered in the feasibility study, and the all-purpose regional school district determined by the commissioner pursuant to this new plan will be established or enlarged by July 1 of the third full school year following the commissioner's determination.

feedback