by Bill Cleary
Last year, Gov. Jon Corzine signed a law to regionalize some of the smaller districts, given that the state has more than 600 school districts for 567 municipalities. Under the law, executive county superintendents must present regionalization plans by March 2010.
PHOTO: ALICE COSTELLO SCHOOL
The focus is particularly on the smaller districts that send students to a neighboring district for high school. Some believe that the administrative expense involved with maintaining small districts is an undo burden on homeowners.
With that thought in mind the School Boards for Audubon and Brooklawn passed resolutions recently to begin a joint feasibility study on merging the two schools.
Presently Brooklawn has 314 students enrolled in the Alice Costello Grammar School for grades K to 8. There are approximately 78 students from Brooklawn enrolled at Gloucester City High School. Brooklawn pays $800,000 annually in tuition to Gloucester City for those students.
When contacted by CNB Brooklawn School Board President- Bruce Darrow said, “when we heard what was coming from the State we wanted to be pro-active on this matter. The Brooklawn BOE has 5 members who are Gloucester City High School (GHS) graduates and many have had children graduate from GHS. We have no concerns about the quality of education or the athletic programs but, we had a concern for our community to keep our school open.
"We have lost the Catholic Church (St. Maurice) and our town could not afford to lose our school also, so we formed a three member Consolidation Committee to meet with representatives from Gloucester City School Board. The Brooklawn Committee had several issues of concern but the number ONE issue of our Board was keeping our neighbor school open at least through the sixth grade. Since I am not part of this committee I can only speak on the report from the Gloucester meeting.
"At the Gloucester meeting our committee failed in getting Gloucester to commit to keeping the Brooklawn School open. So without any assurances from Gloucester our committee met with Audubon and we received a verbal guarantee that our school would remain open at least through the 6th grade".
Darrow added that if Brooklawn consolidates with Gloucester City they would no longer be a Borough School Board, “Gloucester City would be in charge of our district. If we go to Audubon we would continue to have a Board of Education”.