North Jersey’s editorial, “Is Merging School Districts A Good Idea?” follows what seems to be a kabuki dance of talking points:
1) It’s probably cheaper, with some exceptions, and will lower property taxes for most homeowners.
2) New Jersey’s many aficionados of local governance cringe at the thought of State control of education:
Any consolidation plans would have to be approved by voters, possibly a tough sell in a state that values “home rule” — the local desire for control over decisions that affect a municipality and its schools.
3) It won’t be cheaper for all, since we’re talking about merging towns with different employee pay scales and different debt loads :
Supporters of consolidation argue that something has to change in a state with 566 towns and 616 school districts. Opponents, however, argue that bigger isn’t always better, and some towns could see their property taxes go up.
“You could see a lot of teachers ramping up to bigger salaries, and that would gobble up any savings,” (NJSBA Spokesman Mike) Yaple said.
But the current system is broken. Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, D-Camden:
“The status quo in New Jersey isn’t working best for the students because we can do a better job, and it sure as hell isn’t working best for the taxpayers.”
We know, we know. Where’s the face paint?