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Contact: Juliet Johnson
For Release: April 2, 2002

Department of Education Announces Reorganization Structure
Restructuring provides more efficient and accessible Department

(TRENTON) – Fulfilling the Governor’s promise to restructure and shrink the bureaucracy of the Department of Education, Commissioner William L. Librera today announced a reorganization of the Department.

The new structure will allow the Department to better balance oversight with support for teaching and learning so that it can refocus on its central mission – to be a leader in educational innovation that provides the children of New Jersey with a meaningful education and a successful future.

"For too long, this Department has been fragmented and inefficient, with a significant imbalance between oversight and support. Our schools have not been well-served by this bureaucracy," said Commissioner Librera. "We have spent the past few months working together to develop a Department structure which decentralizes many functions to provide better accessibility for teachers, districts and communities, and which focuses the Department’s resources on providing necessary support for the many programs that ensure New Jersey’s students are learning."

The reorganization also will strengthen the Department’s ability to monitor spending by local districts to ensure that state education dollars are reaching the classrooms and being spent wisely and effectively, and to hold districts to a greater level of fiscal accountability.

The new structure reorganizes the Department of Education into two divisions – a central operation in Trenton; and a field operation comprised of three regional divisions and the newly-formed Abbott School Division. This reorganization will result in efficiencies of personnel and responsibilities by moving functions that were previously centralized at the Department into the field, to provide more effective support to all of New Jersey’s school districts.

The central division in Trenton will focus on Educational Programs and Assessment, Student Services, Finance, and Oversight and Compliance, as well as perform all centralized Administrative responsibilities. Each of these sub-divisions has been redesigned and streamlined to provide support for critical educational programs, such as assessments which truly provide a meaningful look at student progress, and to foster innovative practices, such as career academies, while eliminating the inefficiencies that have previously hindered New Jersey’s children from receiving the education they deserve.

Each of the three regional divisions will be focused on providing access and support for the communities they serve to ensure community-specific educational issues are being resolved effectively, teachers are being certified in a timely manner and are continually provided with professional development options that enhance their teaching skills, and districts are provided with a resource that enables their students to receive the education they need to succeed.

One of the most significant organizational changes is the new Abbott Division, where responsibilities and issues previously scattered throughout multiple divisions will now been folded into one division, ensuring responsible and effective development of educational programs that provide children in the state’s 30 Abbott districts with an education that prepares them for successful futures. The Abbott Division will also be responsible for the fiscal accountability of those districts to ensure that funds are being effectively spent.

"This new Department is focused on becoming a leader in education innovation and preparing New Jersey’s children for the future, by removing the bureaucratic obstacles that have hindered our state’s educational system for too long," Commissioner Librera said. "We are changing the way that the business of education is done in this state so we can focus on implementing programs that ensure every child is receiving an early education so they are prepared to learn; every child is reading by the end of third grade; teachers are receiving the support they need to continue to improve in the classroom; innovative practices are being brought to districts that need them most; and all our children are receiving the education they deserve."

The Department reorganization will be reviewed by the State Board of Education tomorrow at its biweekly meeting.

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