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COUNTY SPECIAL SERVICES SCHOOL DISTRICT RANKED #1 IN STATE FOR LOWEST COST PER PUPIL GCIT also drops to #9 in State for Lowest Costs out of 21

(Woodbury, NJ) - Citing shared administrative responsibilities support functions, facilities sharing and other services, Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr. announced today that Gloucester County Special Services School District (GCSSSD) has been ranked #1 in the state for having the lowest cost per pupil for special services districts in the Comparative Spending Guide published by the New Jersey Department of Education. Additionally, the Vocational-Technical School District has improved from being #10 last year to #9 this year out of the 21 state-wide county programs.

Freeholder Director Sweeney said, We have again proven that shared services in the world of education are successful to both the students and the taxpayers. We have a valued administration and staff at our shared school districts who raise efficiency and lower costs where ever possible and I give them full credit for this outstanding achievement.

Sweeney said by sharing a Superintendent and administrations between the two districts, that the GCIT and GCSSSD save over $700,000 in salaries and benefits a year on administration alone. In addition to the financial success this initiative has demonstrated, the relationship between the two school districts is thriving, said Director Sweeney. The sharing of many administrators, facilities and equipment continues to provide students in both districts with enhanced program opportunities.

Gloucester County's Special Services District and GCIT are sharing everything from a Superintendent to athletic fields, staff, support staff, gymnasiums, pool use, office space, storage space, and this concept has exceeded our original plans, said Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr. Liaison to Education. This 2004-05 school year we even expanded GCIT from a part-time vocational-technical program to a full-time comprehensive high school program and the district continued to lower costs. These districts are the perfect example of how sharing services saves tax dollars and can increase educational opportunities, Freeholder Brigandi stated.

The Freeholders said that in addition to the administrative and facilities sharing savings that GCSSSD and GCIT are currently saving, that they are looking to further sharing options in other administrative areas, maintenance and custodial staff.

Freeholder Director Sweeney said that taxpayers save $1 million annually as a result of this sharing initiative. School taxes make up approximately 60 percent of a homeowners property tax bill and everyone feels the strain, said Sweeney. Gloucester County is doing everything it can to hold the line on taxes and this program goes a long way to take the burden of taxpayers without jeopardizing our valued educational programs, Sweeney concluded.

To view the Department of Educations Comparative Spending Guide visit http://www.state.nj.us/njded/guide/