HC Taxpayers Prioritizing School Tax Disparity

For the Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association, the goal for this offseason is to make progress in resolving the tax disparity involving Long Beach Island towns and the Southern Regional School District.

“It’s been on and off the back burner, but now the situation for Harvey Cedars is as critical as ever,” said association President Mike Songer.

He said Harvey Cedars has 10 students enrolled in the district, resulting in a cost per pupil of approximately $255,000.

“We (the Island) pay 80 percent of the taxes and send 10 percent of the students,” said Songer. “I spoke with an attorney who has worked with other school districts having similar problems and he said he has never seen a discrepancy such as this.”

He said that by contrast, Stafford sends 2,193 students to Southern Regional.

“Their cost per student is a little more than $4,000 per student,” said Songer.

He said that could present a problem if the issue ever went to referendum, since all sending districts would have to vote if the Island towns wanted to pull out.

“If we lost the referendum, then we could appeal to the state commissioner of education,” said Songer. “If that failed, then the matter would go before an administrative law judge. This is going to be a long process, but we have to get this rolling.”

Songer said the group is reaching out to the Island-wide Joint Council of Taxpayers Associations, which hosted a forum on this issue in June, as well as mayors of Island communities.

“I know this issue was raised in 2006, when Beach Haven and Long Beach Township led a campaign to change the school funding formula,” said Songer. “Unfortunately, it didn’t get anywhere. Maybe this time, something will get resolved.”

– Reposted from The Sandpaper