New Jersey Legislature Unveils Plan to Eliminate Hundreds of School Districts

The New Jersey Legislative leaders unveiled a plan that would eliminate hundreds of school districts. NJ.com reports:

The proposal, unveiled by state lawmakers Thursday, suggests regionalizing all of the state’s elementary and middle school districts into larger K-12 districts.┬áThe plan would┬áconsolidate a total of 278 school districts serving 303 municipalities, according to an NJ Advance Media analysis.┬á

The idea is just one aspect of a sweeping study by a panel of tax experts and economists that includes dozens of recommendations for how to improve New Jersey’s fiscal stability. Top lawmakers have yet to say which of those suggestions they will support.

┬áRegardless of whether the suggestion moves forward, it shows just how inefficient experts think New Jersey’s school system is. The plan would consolidate some of the state’s smallest districts but also some with thousands of students.┬á

From a fiscal point of view, I can certainly understand why they suggest this. Iowa, where I live, has K-12 districts only, so I’m sure property taxes are a mess. School finance, in general, is a mess regardless of where you live. It also doesn’t seem like it helps the school non-teaching staff glut we are experiencing nationwide.

That said, forced consolidation and the further centralization of education erodes local control. Bigger is not, and in fact rarely is, better when it comes to public education. In fact, larger school districts tend to have an even greater administrative glut.