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Pascack Valley School Split Decision Could Come This Month

The Department of Education will hold a public hearing on Woodcliff Lake's petition to withdraw from the regional school district Monday and a meeting to consider the petition August 27.

Pascack Valley High School. File photo credit: Jim Leggate.
Pascack Valley High School. File photo credit: Jim Leggate.
The New Jersey Department of Education may take action this month on Woodcliff Lake's petition to withdraw from the Pascack Valley Regional School District.

Woodcliff Lake officials have sought to withdraw from the district because property owners there and in Montvale typically pay more money for the schools than property owners in Hillsdale and River Vale. A 1975 state law mandates that regional districts determine their tax levy allocation based on property values in each town. 

Bergen County Interim Executive Superintendent Todd Flora previously found that Woodcliff Lake and Montvale would see only "minimal" savings while "the increased financial burden imposed upon the taxpayers of Hillsdale and River Vale would be detrimental in comparison."

A study about the issue prepared on behalf of Hillsdale and River Vale found that the split could raise taxes for the average homeowner in both of those towns by more than $500 per year, while the average Woodcliff Lake and Montvale homeowners would see savings of less than $20.

The state's Board of Review will hold a public hearing to take comments from residents on the issue at 3:30 p.m. August 19 at Bergen County Technical High School, 504 Route 46 West in Teterboro. A sign-up sheet for anyone who wants to comment will be available starting at 3:15 p.m. that day and officials will also take written comments — which should include the commenter's full name and town of residence — that day or via email to commissioner@doe.state.nj.us.

In a joint statement, Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz and River Vale Mayor Joseph Blundo said they would both be attending the meeting to explain how Woodcliff Lake's plan "is flawed and overlooks the adverse educational, financial and community impacts that would result if the existing configuration of regional high school is altered in any way."

The mayors said they encouraged residents to attend the meeting and voice their support for maintaining the district.

The Board of Review will hold a second meeting to consider the petition August 27 at 2 p.m. in the New Jersey Department of Education, 100 River View Plaza, Route 29, 1st Floor Conference Room in Trenton. According to a notice for the meeting, officials may take action on the petition
msuozzi August 18, 2013 at 08:55 AM
The problem with the peripheral towns and related expense is primarily ESL. Woodcliiff Lake has far fewer students that need ESL. Our kids are learning French, Spanish etc. And have no learning obstacle in understanding the lessons of other subjects in English. I don't want to pay for a socioeconomic situation in another town. I chose to live here for a reason; not for a Socialized spread the wealth system. If you want to charge me more for home taxes because my house is worth more that's fine. But don't tell me I have to pay to have a foreign kid in Hillsdale to learn English. All I want my school taxes to go to is WCL schools; exclusively. There is no disputing that "you are a product of your environment". If you are paying for one that is better; you don't expect it to be contaminated or diluted.

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