Requires Coordination to Enhance State Oversight
Senator Vince Polistina introduced legislation this week that would increase fiscal oversight of the Atlantic City board of education and school district.
Senator Vince Polistina introduced legislation this week that would increase fiscal oversight of the Atlantic City board of education and school district. (Pixabay)
Classified as a “municipality in need of stabilization and recovery” under state law, the city’s municipal government is supervised by the Department of Community Affairs, and the Commissioner of Education has appointed a state monitor for oversight of the board of education’s business operations.
“There are two state monitors keeping watch, but often one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing,” said Polistina (R-2). “To be effective and get Atlantic City back on track, there needs to be efficient and consistent coordination, and that’s the purpose of this legislation. We want to have both horses pulling the same way and not have one pulling more than its fair share.”
Polistina’s bill, S-2454, authorizes the director of the Division of Local government Services to oversee the fiscal management and expenditures of school district funds, including those under the direct oversight of a state monitor.
“The state would have the same authority over Atlantic City’s board of education as it has over local government in the city,” Polistina said. “There are millions of taxpayer dollars at risk here, and it is crucial to have a cohesive plan to move the city forward.”
Atlantic City property taxes reflect a combination of the cost of local government and the cost of operating public schools.
“By far, the most significant impact on local tax bills is education,” Polistina said. “Through increased coordination with the director of the Division of Local Services, spending will be scrutinized so city residents will get better results for the money.”
Polistina noted that while Atlantic City schools have a couple hundred fewer students than nearby Egg Harbor Township schools, they spend close to $50 million more per year. The city spends more than $4,000 extra for every student.
The total Atlantic City school budget is $224.4 million.
“Our goal is to help Atlantic City get back up on its feet and one day return to self-governance,” said Polistina. “This bill makes a sensible adjustment to the disjointed and inefficient structure of state monitoring. The city as a whole and the families who make their homes here will benefit.”
Related Facebook Post: