Legislator proposes plan to eliminate local school districts

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Franklin) is proposing a November 2011 referendum so voters can decide if they want to centralize public school governance and operations at the county level. 

Chivukula is proposing the creation of a county administrative school district, with a county school board and superintendent appointed by the governor.   A board of school estimate appointed by either a County Executive or Freeholder director, would approve the budget.  Local school district administrative and supervisory personnel positions would be abolished,a nd the local school boards would be advisory only.

 “New Jersey taxpayers can no longer afford to pay hefty salaries for hundreds of superintendents and assistant superintendents,” said Chivukula. “We need a new and sensible approach to save taxpayers’ money, and these bills could go a long way toward streamlining expenses and cutting costs without hurting education.”

Chivukula says that the state cannot afford 600 school districts run by individual superintendents.

“These bills don’t force a change upon anyone. They simply give voters a choice to try something different to save money,” he said.  “We have potential to save a lot of money for taxpayers by streamlining this system.”

According to Chivukula, a 2006 report from the Office of the State Auditor estimated the annual cost of salaries and benefits for superintendents, assistant superintendents, school business administrators and information technology coordinators at $553 million. Legislator proposes plan to eliminate local school districts