FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 6, 2023
Contact: Dr. Tara Beams
Superintendent of Schools
Highlands, Atl. Highlands Move Forward to Form Regional School District
HIGHLANDS, NJ - A special election for the voters of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands to form a new regional school district for pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade has been called for September 26, 2023.
“This is great news for our community. We’ve been working on regionalization in our schools for many years and this is a huge step forward in making our collective goal a reality”, said Michael Gannon, President of Henry Hudson Regional Board of Education.
Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, the Acting Commission of Education approved the action in a letter to the Boards of Education for Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, and Henry Hudson on Friday, July 21, 2023 and the three Boards of Education unanimously approved the resolution at the Wednesday, July 26, 2023 Tri-District special meeting.
In line with the 2021 LEAP grant feasibility study findings, the three Boards of Education agreed that regionalization will provide many benefits to Highlands and Atlantic Highlands. The regionalization proposal before the voters will:
- Provide educational benefits and opportunities for students.
- Improve operational efficiencies, streamline governance, and eliminate redundant services and costs.
- Stabilize and recalculate NJ State aid for a projected $650,000 in savings in state aid over the next 5 years.
- Create a pathway for Sea Bright or other municipalities to join a formed all-purpose PK-12 regional district.
“The regionalization of our three districts is an important first step in building a stronger foundation for our schools. We remain fully committed to Sea Bright joining our district when their withdrawal from their current districts is approved by the Commissioner of Education” said Rebecca Wells, President of Highlands Board of Education.
Should the voters approve the measure, school officials have until July 1, 2024 to have the new district in place. The boards have opted to hold a special election in September to meet the required reorganization deadline. The costs incurred to hold this special election will be reimbursed by the NJ Department of Education.
“We are so pleased to bring this referendum to the voters of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands. Taking this first step in the regionalization process will enable us to further streamline services, operations, and school governance to better serve our community in running a more fiscally responsible school district.,” said Karin Masina, Vice President of the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education.
The districts will host a Regionalization Information Fair on Tuesday, September 12 at Henry Hudson Regional School District at 7:00 p.m. where residents can hear more about the Boards of Educations’ plan for regionalization and to have their questions answered by the district’s consultants. More information about regionalization and the resolution can be found at https://www.tridistrict.org