TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would promote shared services among school districts was cleared out of the Senate Education Committee today. It would require executive county superintendents to designate a county special services school district or educational services commission as the county education services agency to help school districts to reduce costs by entering shared services arrangements.
“This kind of legislation is where property taxpayers are going to see real savings. School funding makes up the largest portion of our property tax bills. Therefore, by creating efficiencies through shared services in education, taxpayers will truly get a much needed break,” said Sweeney.
The bill, S769, would direct the executive county superintendent of schools in each county to identify an education services agency to serve the county. The county education services agency must be either a county special services school district or an educational services commission located in the county. Moreover, if a county special services school district or educational services commission is currently located in a county, the Commissioner of Education would be required to designate one in an adjoining county to serve as the county education services agency.
The county education services agency would make available to school districts in the county various programs and services, including, among others; behavioral, business and case management services; county integrated preschool programs; early intervention programs; homeless, in-district outdoor and environmental education; safe schools evaluations and support; therapeutic services and evaluations; and workshops and professional development activities.
The bill would also provide that the funding and governance structure of a county special services school district or educational services commission which is functioning as the county education services agency will continue as currently provided under law and would authorize whichever entity is designated as the education services agency to provide the programs and services that are currently permitted by law to be provided by the other.
The legislation now moves to the full Senate for a vote.