NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Form Of Educational Choice In New Jersey

December 1, 1999

New Jersey officials have launched a pilot program to inject some competition into the state's public school system. The plan -- which can't be described as exactly radical since it avoids full-blown school choice -- is to allow 10 selected school districts to admit students from any district in the state, tuition free.

  • The districts will receive up to $8,500 from the state for each student who transfers in during the pilot program which will begin in September.
  • The program will eventually expand over a five year period to include up to 21 districts.
  • Students are already allowed to attend schools in districts other than their own by paying tuition to those districts.
  • Districts losing students will continue to receive state payments for each one -- but the figure would be reduced by 25 percent in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and finally by 75 percent.

State officials say they hope the concept of choice will create a market mentality among districts that will make all of them improve as they try to attract and hold students.

Source: Maria Newman, "10 New Jersey Districts Named in Tuition-Free, Statewide Enrollment Test," New York Times, December 1, 1999.


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