Monmouth and Ocean Potential Merger:
State Sen. Sean Kean and Assemblyman David Rible, both Republicans from Monmouth County, held a public forum this past Tuesday at Sea Girt Elementary School to discuss school consolidation in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The Asbury Park Press reports that the 75 people there expressed concern that the threatened closing of non-operating districts and regionalization of small districts is “just political” and would not save any money. Meredith Wong, President of the Interlaken Board of Education, a non-op, said,
I find I’m getting angrier about the whole thing. Are these education experts that decided this or people that know a lot about what’s going on in these little towns?
Take that, education experts.
Last month the mayor of Wildwood, Ernie Troiano, sent a letter to the local Board of Education requesting that they come up with an exit strategy to close the tiny one-school district. (See this post.) Here’s the unequivocal answer from the Wildwood Superintendent, Dennis J. Anderson:
Despite some of the rumors floating around, we have absolutely no plans to close the high school. Not now. Not next year. Never.
Pequannock’s Micromanaging Board Members:
Local residents are attempting recalls of the President and Vice President of the Pequannock School Board because they blame the Board leadership for the sudden resignation of Superintendent Larrie Reynolds, who is heading off to greener pastures in Mt. Olive. NorthJersey reports,
John Buonomo, chairman of the Committee to Recall Alleva, one of two groups seeking the trustees’ ouster, said nitpicking and micromanaging from the board made it hard for Reynolds to do his job.
It’s a challenge for all Board members to parse that slippery dictum to “not manage the schools, but to see that they are managed well.” One man’s prudent oversight is another man’s micromanagement. At any rate, angry townspeople already have 2,809 signatures on the recall petition, about half of what they need to get the question on April’s ballot.
How to Avoid State-wide Panic over Threats to Home Rule:
Education Can Overcome Home Rule. Yup, that’s header on a Central Jersey editorial explaining why residents are opposed to a merger of the Flemington and Raritan Valley police departments. (The first sentence is “Home rule rules in New Jersey.”) Here’s a sample:
In most New Jersey communities, any large consolidation ideas are going to require a prolonged educational process. Residents have to want them, and they’re going to have to come to that belief themselves, not because their leaders of the moment say it’s a good idea. It will require community input from the beginning, some exhaustive studies about how a merger would work, how it would affect departments and budgets. And it will need responsible local police officers and school employees to keep their own potential resistance in check, to allow the process to unfold rather than trying to intimidate people into stopping it.