Staying in the Slow Lane

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The Press of Atlantic City reports that three districts neatly positioned for consolidation will take a pass. The School Boards of Northfield, Somers Point, and Linwood, all small K-8 districts in Atlantic County, discussed the possibility when Northfield’s superintendent resigned, but decided that time was on their side. In an interview with the Press, Vice President of the Northfield School Board Steve) Wynne explained,

True consolidation requires referendums in each district and thus requires a “big timeline.” Looking past the possible benefits of outright consolidation – one set of specialists, curriculum developers, etc. – even sharing a superintendent “makes sense” as a cost-saving measure, Wynne said. “Down the road, it’s certainly a viable option.”

As we ease on down that road, we’ll note that Northfield has two schools with enrollments of 665 and 413, Somers Point has three schools with enrollments of 550, 689, and 63, and Linwood has one school with an enrollment of 501: 3378 kids in total, a fine size for a school district. Right now the superintendents of each district make $136,655, $140,608, and $127,586 respectively. Grand total: $404,849, not including three hefty benefits packages. Could we possibly rev it up a bit? Saving tax payers around $250,000 is not chump change.

But, of course, school board members would potentially lose their seats, the three districts would have to negotiate tax rates and debt structure, and the three towns would have to approve the merger through a formal vote. Just get used to the scenic route.

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