TRENTON – Earlier this week, Senators Ronald L. Rice and Nellie Pou introduced a measure which would cap the amount of time that the State could intervene in a local school district to five years before governing authority would be returned to the local board of education.
“When an outside entity comes in and takes over control for two decades, that’s not intervention – that’s occupation,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “After twenty years of occupation from State regulators, school districts in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City have seen little progress and few results, and students are facing many of the same challenges today that they faced when the State first came in and took over these districts. It’s time for the State to admit that prolonged takeover of a local school district is a failed experiment, and it’s time to return the school districts that have languished under State control back to the people in those school districts.”
“While there may be legitimate reasons for the State to temporarily take over the functions of a local school district, such an agreement must come with an expiration date,” said Senator Pou, D-Passaic and Bergen. “As we’ve seen with Paterson, Newark and Jersey City, while there has been progress during the takeover period, there has also been backsliding, and it’s to the point where the benefits of State intervention are really called into question. The point of the law that allows the State to take over local school districts is that the takeover period is finite, and having a deadline by which State regulators have to withdraw puts added emphasis on the need to produce results.”