Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

Press of Atlantic City – Promoting his statewide plan for school consolidation in order to save taxpayer money, New Jersey Sen. President Steve Sweeney toured the Pinelands Regional High School Monday and met with school officials to discuss potential K-12 regionalization efforts.

“The Pinelands Regional and Little Egg Harbor Township School Districts are a prime example of how school districts can cooperate to coordinate curriculum and share tax dollars,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland).

Pinelands Regional serves students in seventh through 12th grade from Little Egg Harbor, Bass River, Eagleswood, and Tuckerton.

The district has a history of shared service agreements with its sending districts for many services. However, since Superintendent Melissa McCooley, who serves both Pinelands and Little Egg Harbor Township, was appointed by the school board last year, several new agreements were approved, among them business administrator Nick Brown, and director of special services, Erin Lichtenwalner, who are also shared with Little Egg Harbor.

“It was great to have the Senate President tour the high school and explain to him in greater detail how we’ve set things up here. I’ve been working with the Senate president and his staff to discuss how we can consolidate the districts to better align our schools,” said McCooley. “It is a common sense solution that would go a long way in lowering property taxes and aligning curriculum.”

K-12 regional districts and countywide school districts were a principal recommendation of the bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup, created by the Senate president in 2018. The task force of economists, academics, fiscal policy experts, and legislators issued its Path to Progress Report in August of 2018.

In the state budget adopted in July, the legislature put funding for school regionalization and consolidation studies. Application guidelines for $2 million in school regionalization grants will be posted Dec. 16.

“We have the best schools in the country, and we can make them even better and more cost effective by moving to regionalized districts that coordinate curriculum and share administrative overhead costs,” Sweeney said.

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626