Seaside Heights, Toms River school districts consider plan for merger
An Ocean County school district with just one school - could soon merge with a larger district as part of a regionalization effort.
The Seaside Heights and Toms River school districts will vote on whether to send a feasibility report to the Department of Education for review. If the vote passes, and the Department of Education accepts, the regionalization plan would go to the public in a referendum vote.
"Over the course of 10 years we will save about $9 million in taxes," said Seaside Heights Councilman Vito Ferrone. "The proficiency has been so down. We do not fare well at all with the students. Once they start going to Toms River, which is regionalized, then there's a better education going on."
Currently, Seaside Heights students attend the Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School before transferring to the Central Regional School District's Middle and High School in Berkeley Township.
Under a Toms River Regional plan, Boyd Elementary would close, the students would move to East Dover Elementary School, rise through Toms River East Intermediate and High Schools, and all students would begin, stay, and end in that one district.
"We've been hurting the last few years with our S2 funding cuts a positive trend for sustainable Revenue benefits the entire Regional School District," said Toms River Regional School District superintendent Michael Citta. "The fact that we are going to be able to absorb their whole staff, nobody gets laid off, will help reduce class sizing in our elementary schools and additional funding will go towards kids' extracurricular programs to make them sustainable."
Central Regional School District does not have a vote in the matter, and according to a statement, are not supportive of losing Seaside Heights students to Toms River.
"The feasibility report raises numerous questionable findings that ultimately will require legal clarification and further study by all impacted parties. Central Regional School District has no intention of allowing any neighboring school district to financially benefit at the cost of taxpayers in the remaining sending districts of Berkeley, Ocean Gate, Island Heights, and Seaside Park. The Central Regional School District remains deeply committed to ensuring students continue to receive a high-quality education, but the purpose of this study has very little to do with education," said Central Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Doug Corbett in a statement to News 12.