- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Jersey City’s public schools are another step closer to complete local control since the state took charge in 1989 after a judge found numerous problems with the district.

The state education board Wednesday approved returning control over operations and personnel to local officials, and Commissioner David Hespe established a working group to come up with a plan to restore control of all facets of running the schools to local officials. The transition is expected to be completed by next spring.

“I think it’s one of the most significant educational achievements in Jersey City in several decades,” said Mayor Steven Fulop in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s not a small achievement.”

Control over governance and finance had already been turned back over to local officials; the working group will focus on returning control of instruction and programming as early as June.

The state has had control of the city’s public schools for more than two decades after a judge ruled the system was overrun with patronage and nepotism, facilities were allowed to rot and more than $1 million was wrongly taken from the district’s prescription and dental plans.



Fulop said the return to local control will mean a school board no longer subject to state oversight and residents with more direct input on how the schools operate. He said the transition won’t carry any costs to residents and isn’t expected to be a disruption to students and parents because the schools have been working toward regaining control for years.

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