Seaside Votes Against Toms River Merger

The district let voters know about the special election on signs like this one in front of Toms River High School South. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  TOMS RIVER – Voters in Seaside Heights declined to join the Toms River Regional School district during a special election. Seaside voters shot it down 231 to 167.

  If it had passed in all towns, then Seaside would have joined the regional district. It would still have had its own school, the Hugh J. Boyd elementary school, but it would have had the Toms River Regional administration and curriculum.

  As the results came in Tuesday night, voters in the other towns – Toms River, Pine Beach, Beachwood, and South Toms River – were largely in favor of it.

  Seaside residents have spoken out at meetings and online against joining the district. They liked the home rule, low class sizes, and small town feel of having their own school. Residents have said that the staff know each child in the school – something that might not happen when the kids go to larger schools and join the mix.


  Originally, Boyd was going to close down but the newer plan was to keep it open, and have it be another school in the district, much like the elementary schools in South Toms River, Beachwood, and Pine Beach.

  If the vote had passed, every town – including Seaside – would see a cut in school taxes, Toms River Superintendent Michael Citta had said. Additionally, the school will start the steps toward making pre-kindergarten available district-wide.

  If Seaside had joined Toms River, it would have solved many of the financial woes Toms River has – mostly due to a state funding formula that cut millions of dollars in aid from them.

  Another issue is that the acting director of the Department of Education has said that any request for a loan from school districts will be denied.

  The Seaside kids currently go to the Hugh J. Boyd Jr. School for kindergarten through 6th, and then go to Central Regional for middle and high school.

  Central Regional officials had been challenging the idea of Seaside leaving. They said that they can provide better instruction than Toms River, listing factors such as Toms River not providing afterschool busing. They were also worried about the financial impact of an entire town’s worth of tax revenue leaving.