TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Vin Gopal that would require pupils who reside on certain federal property to enroll in the resident school district in accordance with the enrollment schedule determined by the executive county superintendent of schools was signed into law by Governor Murphy today.
The law provides that, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, pupils who reside on federal property at the Naval Weapons Station Earle be enrolled in the schools of the district in which the pupils live in accordance with an enrollment schedule determined by the executive county superintendent of schools. The law replaces an agreement dating back to the 1980’s.
“This is a long-standing issue that I’m glad has come to a close. Children at the Navy Weapons Station Earle can now enjoy the convenience of attending school in the town they live in,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Because they participate in community activities and programs in Colts Neck, these children are very much a part of the township already. It only makes sense that they should be able to go to the schools there as well.”
“Tinton Falls has been disparately impacted by educating the entire student population at Naval Weapons Station Earle without proper funding for far too long, placing an undue burden on not only the district but taxpayers as well,” said Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). “I am extremely pleased that Governor Phil Murphy has seen the merit in the bill. By signing the Earle Bill into law, Governor Murphy has joined us in not only supporting the Tinton Falls School District, which was in dire need of support, but the taxpayers of Tinton Falls as well. I look forward to working with both the Tinton Falls and Colts Neck schools districts to ensure a smooth transition for staff, students, administrators and parents.”
The Naval Weapons State Earle overlaps both Colts Neck and Tinton Falls. While the residential part of NWSE falls within Colts Neck’s borders, the military children currently travel to the far side of the base to attend school in Tinton Falls, an hour’s drive. The new law requires Colts Neck to accept the military children from Tinton Falls.
The new law also benefits the school districts involved. Tinton Falls’ schools are already overcrowded with town’s population expected to grow, further straining the system. Colts Neck, on the other hand, is expected to see a population decrease resulting in fewer students. As such, this law will allow Tinton Falls to reduce its class size while enabling Colts Neck’s to fill empty desks.
Aid from the federal government is given to Tinton Falls as a partial payment to educate these military children. With these students now transferring to Colts Neck, the funding will follow them to that district.