Sweeney/Bryant Measure To Help Better Use School Funds Approved By Assembly Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Steve Sweeney and Wayne R. Bryant which would allow county special services and vocational school districts to share resources was approved today by the Assembly Education Committee.

“We’re all well aware of the property tax issues that exist here in New Jersey, and the burdens they cause many residents,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This legislation would work as a way to save taxpayer dollars, while still working to ensure that our schools receive the resources and services they need to successfully educate our children.”

“In educating our youth, we are in essence, helping to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow has every available chance to succeed and thrive,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester, who serves on the Senate Education Committee. “It is imperative that we provide the best possible education for our students, but we must also make sure that we aren’t straining taxpayers’ pockets in the process.”

The Senators’ measure, S-460, calls for the creation of a combined school board, which would consist of the county superintendent of schools and six other members, appointed by either the chief elected officer or the director of the local board of chosen freeholders. The chairman or representative of a mental health board would also serve as a non-voting member of the school board.

The schools would share a board of education and resources including equipment and transportation and buildings and ground services, but each district would maintain its individual identity, the Senators said.

The measure was approved by the full Senate on March 13, 2006, by a vote of 36-2. It now awaits a vote by the full Assembly, where approval there would send it to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

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