Toms River Regional will meet 6:30 p.m. Thursday at to discuss possibly moving the April school board election to November.
The special meeting is outside of the regularly monthly public meeting of the school board, and was called for the specific purpose of deciding whether to hold elections on the same day as the general election each November.
According to legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie in January, school board elections normally could be moved to coincide with the general elections . Either a school board or municipality can vote to make the switch, or voters can petition the municipality for a referendum on the prospect.
School districts near Toms River Regional to make the switch to November: Central Regional, Brick and Manchester already have voted to change from April. Toms River Regional serves Toms River but also Pine Beach, South Toms River and Beachwood.
The legislation not only allows to move the elections to November, it also says that if a school budget is under the state-mandated 2 percent hard cap it would not have to put it up for a vote by the public.
The public would lose the opportunity to vote to approve or vote down a school budget, leaving the budget in the hands of elected school board members. Public hearings on the budget would be held still, but the new system would be similar to how township budgets are approved. Only budgets outside the cap would be part of a referendum vote for residents to decide.
Moving the school election, which is a non-partisan election, to November would also pair it during the partisan contests, but proponents say this would also increase voter participation.
Previously Toms River Regional Business Administrator Bill Doering said the move to November would save the school district about $100,000 in election administration costs. It would also allow for longer-term budget planning, he said.
The meeting is earlier than the regularly scheduled school board meetings, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Under the new format for school board meetings, public comment will be held at the beginning as well as the end of the meeting.