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Regional Schools Group Sets October Meeting

Fourth meeting of ad hoc committee to be held in Washington Township.

Although it’s been quiet, the proverbial fat lady has yet to sing on the West Morris Regional Education Advisory Committee meetings. 

In fact, she’s put away her songbook for at least a few more weeks.

The committee, organized by mayors of Washington Township, the Chesters and Mendhams, has met three times in an effort to come to terms on what options of restructuring the area’s school districts in a potential feasibility study.

But the group came to an impasse during its last meeting, held in Mendham Borough on July 19, when Washington Township, Chester Township, and Mendham Borough said it would fund a feasibility with three options, while Mendham Township said it would not, and Chester Borough requested an extension.

Those three options include:

  • Super regional K-12 district, encompassing all five towns
  • Two K-12 school districts–one for Washington Township, another for the Chesters and Mendhams
  • K-12 district for Washington Township and a limited use 9-12 for the Mendhams and Chesters, keeping their K-8 districts intact.

"I'm disappointed we couldn't come to a compromise (at the last meeting)," said Chairperson Christine Gorski. 

A few weeks later, it was decided by Chester Borough Council that the town, along with Mendham Township, would not fund a study including the option to analyze a potential mega K-12 district, encompassing the five towns’ school programs.

Each town was willing to spend $10,000 on the feasibility study, if all five could come to an agreement.

The group does have the ability to move forward with four, or even three of the municipalities if it desired.

Committee Vice Chairman Jim Harmon, who has discussed some of the process with CGR, a firm that conducts feasibility studies, said the parameters of a study are still wide open, and would allow for any number of contributors.

The group’s August meeting, which may have potentially been its last, was canceled due to a lack of available mayors.

Scheduling difficulties forced the group to skip September, but the next session has now been arranged for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the Washington Township Municipal Building.

The committee has met on the Thursdays previously.

"Considering what may happen at this meeting," Gorski said, "I felt it was imperative to lock down a date and get this done."

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