New Shared Services Partnership between Gloucester & Camden Counties Forged for Special Education
(Deptford, NJ) - Gloucester County and Camden County have agreed today to provide educational options for Camden County school districts for students with disabilities. Under the agreement, Gloucester County Special Services Schools, considered a model district in New Jersey for students with disabilities, will offer available seats in the Gloucester County schools to sending school districts for their eligible Camden County students.
The Gloucester County Special Services Schools are comprised of the Bankbridge Elementary School, Bankbridge Regional (6-12), and the Bankbridge Development Center serving multiple disabled students with a focus on Autism from pre-school age 21.
"We built our schools for our children to receive the best educational opportunities and for our taxpayers get the best return on their investment. The bottom line is that the Gloucester County Special Service Schools save our taxpayers on average $25,000 per student as compared to sending them to a private out-of-district school, and it adds up to over $1 million in savings a year," said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney.
"This agreement gives Camden County school districts another option for high quality low cost special education at outstanding facilities," said Camden County Freeholder Director, Louis Cappelli, Jr. "Special education is not one-size-fits-all and the Gloucester County schools won't be right for every student that requires to be sent out of his or her district, but it is an outstanding option for our families to have available," stated Cappelli.
Freeholder Director Sweeney said that the two counties have worked closely to erase boundaries for delivering many services.
"We have the opportunity to accept Gloucester County children into our schools, while also opening our doors to Camden County students. Camden County will pay tuition that will help offset the cost to Gloucester County taxpayers. Shared services are a win-win," stated Sweeney.
Under the agreement Gloucester County students will be offered placement first and Camden County will be offered the available seats. The Bankbridge Schools combined currently serve approximately 600 full-time students.
"Gloucester County has a tremendous track record with education,"said Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Liaison to Education "These schools give our children the best specialized education and they save our taxpayers over $1 million annually," stated Brigandi.
"People have moved to Gloucester County from other states to send their child to a Bankbridge School. We are proud to share this service and offset costs while still ensuring our children with the best in special education."
Brigandi said that for the sixth consecutive year Gloucester County Special Services School District (GCSSSD) was ranked first in New Jersey for the lowest total administrative cost per pupil by the New Jersey Department of Education as published in their Comparative Spending Guide. The Gloucester County Special Services School District has a shared administration and Board of Education with GCIT. By sharing a Superintendent and administrations between the two districts save over $1 million in salaries and benefit a year on administration alone.
Students are referred to a Bankbridge School by their local Child Study Team. The team assesses the student to determine the appropriate educational and related services.