Montague school district weighs decision to keep students in New Jersey rather than across New York border

The only town in New Jersey that sends its students to New York to go to high school is now divided over the longtime agreement.

The only town in New Jersey that sends its students to New York to go to high school is now divided over the longtime agreement.

The only town in New Jersey that sends its students to New York to go to high school is now divided over the longtime agreement. (8/22/13)

MONTAGUE - The only town in New Jersey that sends its students to New York to go to high school is now divided over the longtime agreement.

In the small North Jersey community of Montague, students start out at the town's elementary school. But after sixth grade, the "school choice" program allows them to go to one of many schools in the area, including nearby Port Jervis High School in New York.

Parents and some school board members question the arrangement, and are pushing for students to have the option of attending High Point Regional in New Jersey. Supporters argue the change would secure more education funding for the area.

"We lose enrollment dollars," says Montague school board member Barbara Holstein. "For every 'school choice' student who leaves our school, we lose their enrollment, so we also lose state aid."

The agreement between Montague and Port Jervis has been in effect for more than 60 years. But parents say the quality of education at Port Jervis High has been declining.

School board members say the graduation rate at Port Jervis is 73 percent. At High Point, 89 percent of the students graduate.

The Montague school board has approved the move to end the agreement with Port Jervis and hopes to begin phasing students into High Point Regional starting in 2014.

Opponents reportedly plan to file an injunction to stop the process, arguing the change could lead to higher taxes in Montague.

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