Montague Township School District

2 New Jersey districts in legal dispute over sending students to New York high school

Dec. 8, 2020
The Montague district wants to send its high school students to a school in Port Jervis, N.Y., but the High Point district wants them to keep attending its high school.

A New Jersey school district that wants to send its high school students to a school in New York is suing the New Jersey district where they now attend. reports that the Montague school board’s lawsuit against the High Point Regional district in Wantage is the latest development in a decades-old debate involving Port Jervis High School, the New York school where the K-8 Montague district enrolled its students until 2014.

Montague is seeking state approval to resume its relationship with Port Jervis and send its students there. But it contends in the lawsuit that High Point Regional officials are trying to stymie those plans.

The Montague board voted 6-0 in October 2019 to seek a return to Port Jervis after the New York district agreed to a student tuition lower than High Point Regional High School.

Both New Jersey school districts have much at stake in the outcome. High Point officials have argued that losing the $16,368-per-student tuition fees from Montague, in conjunction with decreasing state aid, could lead to fewer teaching jobs and classes at the school.

As of February, there were 891 students at High Point, including 84 from Montague.

Montague asserts that High Point officials' statements violate a 2018 agreement not to “oppose, hinder, or in any way obstruct” Montague if it sought to leave. It states that High Point encouraged public comments to the commissioner opposing the Port Jervis move.

A spokesperson for the education department says that Montague’s request remains under review by acting commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan.

Montague is home to 3,753 and among the state’s most remote municipalities.

The exit resolution passed last year by the Montague school board cited concerns about educational quality and transportation safety. High Point, in a filing with the education department four months later, countered that the school’s graduation rate is higher than at Port Jervis, and that Montague students are showing gains in standardized testing.

High Point opened in 1968, about four decades after Montague began sending high schoolers to Port Jervis.

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