New Jersey School Boards Association has a piece by Ray Pinney today, whose title at NJSBA is “Grassroots Coordinator and Lobbyist.” Pinney, in “Regionalization: Is the Wrong Solution Better Than No Solution,” recounts a conversation with a Warren County School Board member who tried to explain to a family member why consolidating NJ school districts would raise taxes. The family member’s response was something along the lines of “I believe your math but I still think regionalization is a good idea.”
Pinney’s criticism of the DOE’s clumsy new regulations on consolidation, fondly known as 6A, is bang-on. However, one is well-advised to consider NJSBA’s agenda, which is to protect the thousands of school board members who owe their titles to the number of spots available via home rule. Pinney concludes that the new efforts will yield no savings and will be subverted by the power of the teachers’ union, school boards, and taxpayers. He quotes a private conversation with Lucille Davy: ”I have heard that the Commissioner herself has said she knows that it will not save money.”
The accepted wisdom is that it is typical New Jersey residents – not the NJEA members, not the school board members, not the DOE – who value home rule and condemn regionalization. Is it the other way around? Is it the average citizen (whoever that is) who is willing to give it a try and the politicians whom, legislation to the contrary, are committed to the continuation of home rule run amok?