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Court Upholds Tuition Plan For Seaside Park Students At Central Regional

An appellate court of New Jersey has upheld an earlier court decision that sets a tuition formula for Seaside Park residents who send their children to Central Regional.

The court upheld a decision connected to Seaside Park's suit against Central Regional in 2007, claiming that the tuition method was unconstitutional. The court agreed with a judge who later ruled against Seaside Park and dismissed the case.

Thirteen individual Seaside Park residents appealed the ruling in October 2010.

Mayor Carmen Amato said recently that the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling, which, he said, is "great news for Berkeley Township taxpayers," since Seaside Park sends about 10 percent of the tax base to fund the Central Regional District. 

"Where Seaside Park and the plaintiffs go from here, it is too early to say. All of our attorneys are still digesting the ruling, to make sure that if there is a further appeals, that they will have to go to the State Supreme Court," Amato said.


Seaside Park has been a sending district of the Central Regional school district since Central Regional was formed back in 1954. Prior to that, Seaside Park students went to Toms River schools. But the Toms River district grew so quickly, there was no longer any room for Seaside Park students, so they ended up going to Central Regional.

According to an earlier published Patch report, Seaside Park paid Central Regional through the "turnstile" method, or per capita, until 1976, just like the other four towns in the district.

But things changed in 1976, after the state Legislature changed the tuition payment method for regional school districts from head counts to a formula based on an individual town's property values.

The tuition payment change was gradually phased in over a five-year period. Seaside Park's property assessments are the highest of the five towns.

Seaside Park later filed suit against Central Regional in 2007, claiming that the tuition method was unconstitutional. But a judge later ruled against Seaside Park and dismissed the case. Thirteen individual Seaside Park residents appealed the ruling in October 2010.

Mayor Carmen Amato said recently that the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling, which, he said, is "great news for Berkeley Township taxpayers," since Seaside Park sends about 10 percent of the tax base to fund the Central Regional District.

"Where Seaside Park and the plaintiffs go from here, it is too early to say. All of our attorneys are still digesting the ruling, to make sure that if there is a further appeals, that they will have to go to the State Supreme Court," Amato said.

The Central Regional district has five sending towns — Berkeley Township, Ocean Gate, Island Heights, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

"The orough has a time frame in which they could appeal it, we're very hopeful that they wont appeal the decision," said Central Regional's business administrator, Kevin O'Shea. "There is a lot of things the borough could use that money for... rebuilding roads, houses, and offsetting Sandy damage. As the person who has to sign the purchase order in order to defend the case, it's been difficult for me. Althought I am very happy with our attorney's performance, I  wish to god that I wouldn't have to keep paying him for what I feel is a frivolous lawsuit."

The decision is expected to be discussed at the Central Regional Board of Education meeting tonight, held in the presentation room  at 7 p.m.

Chief Wahoo August 15, 2013 at 08:26 AM
The public takers can't help themselves. Even when a ruling is so unfair.
proud August 15, 2013 at 09:05 AM
The fatted calf.
proud August 15, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Hear, hear!
Chief Achoo August 15, 2013 at 03:55 PM
That doesn't seem fair to the people of Seaside park. Many are hard working, and they earn their paychecks and to have a nice place to live. On the other hand The people of Seaside Heights who come and go from motels are getting their kids an education, free meals, transportation, medical care, and many more perks that the state and government has to offer

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