Should Greenwich Township and Bloomsbury merge their school districts?
A report to be discussed publicly next month may reveal if they should. However, it will ultimately be up to voters to decide if they will.Bloomsbury Elementary School opens its doors for the first day of the 2015-16 school year. (NJ Advance Media file photo)
The two kindergarten-through-eighth grade districts -- one in Warren County and the other adjacent in Hunterdon -- have been pursuing a potential merger since last year, commissioning a feasibility study in April to help guide their decision.
That study will be discussed twice next month by its author, John Comegno of the Comegno Law Group, according to information posted on both districts' websites. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.:
- March 6 at Greenwich School, 101 Wyndham Farm Blvd.
- March 23 at Bloomsbury Elementary School, 20 Main St.
The study takes a legal look at the costs and benefits of a merger, and should provide answers on the impact on taxes, staffing and buildings, Greenwich school board member Kevin Bayne said in remarks last April that have since been posted to the district's site.
"It is extremely difficult for school districts in New Jersey to create revenue-producing opportunities," he said in that statement. "When the Bloomsbury Board of Education approached us about the possibility of consolidating, we felt it was in the best interests of our township and our school district to take the necessary steps to see if this merger will benefit both communities by helping sustain our financial stability while also enhancing our students' educational opportunities."
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After the presentations, it will be up to both communities to vote on the merger, either in a special election or in November's general election. Both Greenwich and Bloomsbury have to approve the merger for it to happen.
Officials have said the merger would not affect this districts' relationship with Phillipsburg High School, where they both send students after eighth grade.
Greenwich Township far surpasses the tiny borough of Bloomsbury in district enrollment and budget, and in population and median income of the municipality, according to data from the U.S. Census, state education department and the districts themselves.
Greenwich also has two buildings -- the K-5 Greenwich School and grade 6-8 Stewartsville Middle School -- to Bloomsbury's one.
However, they do have a history of cooperation: They have been sharing the same superintendent, Maria Eppolite, since 2013.
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