• Lacey Township School District Updates

    October 8, 2023

    Dear Lacey Township School District Community,

    It is with sadness that I inform you that we tragically lost a high school student on Saturday. We ask that you keep the family and all involved in your thoughts and prayers. 

    The District’s Crisis Team has met and stands at the ready to provide counseling and support services for our students, families, and staff who may or will be mourning the loss of our student. These services, in collaboration with the Traumatic Loss Coalition, will be available when students and staff return from the long weekend and will be in place as needed. 

    If you need immediate assistance, please contact Children’s Mobile Response and Stabilization Services at 877-652-7624 or E.M.B.R.A.C.E., which coordinates grief support groups for students and parents. They can be reached  at 732-349-3535, ext. 707.

    The Lacey Township School District community always comes together when faced with tragedy or loss. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. 

    Vanessa R. Pereira, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    March 22, 2023

    To the Lacey Township School District Staff, Students, Families, and Community,

    Last week I sent a communication to our entire school community about the impact of Senate Bill 2 (S-2) and the financial challenges our district is facing. I noted that our school district has never seen a state aid reduction of this magnitude. This past Thursday we presented the tentative budget and outlined where the reductions were made. During the Board Meeting, I also mentioned that we were hopeful about legislation that would provide school funding relief for those districts, like Lacey, most impacted by S-2.

    On Friday we learned that a state bill co-sponsored by Sen. Vin Gopal and Sen. Andrew Zwicker had been proposed that would distribute $102 million to districts negatively affected by S-2, including ours. What does this mean for Lacey? While the bill has yet to be signed by the Governor, we are encouraged that state officials have acknowledged the damage that S-2 has done to our district and have taken action to reverse some of that damage. Under the newly proposed bill, our district is expected to receive approximately $2.6 million of relief aid for the 2023-2024 school year. That amount closes a portion of the gap created by the state aid loss, but it does not close all of it. Our new adjusted state aid loss would be approximately $1.3 million. This does not end our concerns as one more year of S-2 is still scheduled for the 2024-2025 school year with the current estimate of a $2 million reduction in state aid.  

    I am also happy to share additional good news: in collaboration with the Lacey Township Committee and the Lacey Municipal Utilities Authorities, the district has been earmarked to receive $456,000 to offset the reduction in state aid. During a meeting this past Monday with Mayor McDonald, Township Committeeman Mark Dykoff, and Township Administrator Veronica Laureigh, I conveyed my gratitude on behalf of the district and assured the Committee that those funds would be used to address increased class sizes by restoring as many jobs as possible, including paraprofessional support for the students.

    Where do we go from here? We will continue to analyze every single detail of the budget in order to make the very difficult decisions that are still ahead of us. We continue to advocate for our students and our district by seeking the restoration of  ALL of the state aid that has been lost to us.

    We will keep you updated as we continue to work on finalizing the budget. As I mentioned in my previous communication, we have an amazing school community and are committed to keeping it that way. Thank you for your continued support.

    Vanessa R. Pereira, Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Letter to the Community RE: Budget Crisis and Information  - March 13, 2023

    To the Lacey Township School District Staff, Students, Families, and Community,

    Recently, the Lacey Township School District was shocked by the school state aid disbursement news. We learned that instead of losing an anticipated $2 million in state aid for next year, we are instead losing a devastating $4 million. The impact of this cut is further compounded by previous reductions since the inception of Senate Bill 2, also known as “S-2”, which is now law. This district has never seen a reduction of this magnitude.

    By definition, S-2 was created to restructure the way the State of New Jersey distributes funds to school districts. It essentially redistributes state aid toward communities deemed to have been “overpaying” local school taxes and reduced from communities deemed to have been “underpaying.”  Districts, like Lacey, that have been deemed by the State to have been “underpaying” are considered to be under adequacy regarding school tax contributions. We feel these determinations are extremely unfair and allow no procedural method for us to meet our financial obligations to provide a thorough and efficient education. With the permitted tax levy increases maximized for the 2023-2024 school budget and in order to be within the 2% state-imposed cap, we cannot make up the millions of dollars lost to our district. When the final year of the S-2 reduction is factored in (2024-2025), the Lacey Township School District will have lost approximately $12.5 million. We are forced to make drastic reductions to our operating budget that will be painful and widespread. 

    Increasing student achievement remains this district’s primary goal, which all other goals follow. The reduction in funding, however, has impeded and will continue to impede this district from the full achievement of providing a thorough and efficient education.

    • Critical programs will not be offered due to teaching staff reductions.

    • Drastic staffing reductions in all areas will be made, resulting in the increase of K-12 class sizes at every school. All non-tenured certificated staff members have been notified and all full-time paraprofessionals have been informed of a proposed change in status. 

    • The administration is currently working on a plan to reduce co-curricular and athletic programs. 

    • We are in the process of notifying additional staff that their employment is not certain for the 2023-2024 school year.

    I write to you today to provide you with preliminary information and I will continue to do so as we get closer to finalizing the budget. We are still in the process of analyzing every single detail in order to make very difficult decisions on how to present a balanced budget while exploring all avenues for emergent relief. On Tuesday morning, March 14, the Ocean County Association of School Administrators met with the NJ Commissioner of Education, followed by meetings with representatives in our legislature representing districts most impacted by the S-2 reductions. This afternoon we will meet with members of the Lacey Township Committee to explore options. 

    How Can You Stay Informed?
    There are three upcoming Board of Education meetings and a separate meeting that will address the 2023-2024 Budget:

    • March 16: A preschool expansion meeting will take place at 5:00 pm in the Lecture Hall at Lacey Township High School. The meeting will be conducted to present preliminary information and a Q&A for preschool, which is fully funded by the State with funds that must be utilized exclusively for preschool.

    • March 16: The annual introduction of the Tentative Budget will take place during the regularly scheduled Board Meeting, which begins at 7:00 pm in the Lecture Hall at Lacey Township High School. 

    • May 4: The Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget will take place during a special meeting, which begins at 6:00 pm in the Lecture Hall at Lacey Township High School.

    What Can You Do?
    You can advocate for our students by contacting our legislators and explaining how these cuts will impact your children. By Wednesday morning, our website will include the contact information for our state legislators. It will also include suggestions for what you can say or write. 

    We will continue to keep you updated as we continue to work on finalizing the budget. More importantly, we will continue to seek relief from these devastating reductions and seek to restore the state aid that has been lost. We have an amazing school community. We are committed to keeping it that way. Thank you for your continued support.


    Vanessa R. Pereira, Ph.D
    Superintendent of Schools

    February 27, 2023

    Attention Parents: Come hear about Universal Full-Day Preschool in the Lacey Township School District!  Please join us for a Q & A forum to learn about universal full-day preschool for 3 and 4 year olds in the Lacey Township School District!

    When: March 16, 2023 at 5:00 pm
    Location: Lacey Township High School Lecture Hall

    February 13, 2023

    Dear Lacey Township School District Community:

    Like all of you, I am deeply saddened by the tragedy and loss of a young student in a neighboring school community.  We express our condolences to the family and all those affected.

    As more and more information about this incident has become available, we feel it is important to address this difficult topic within our own community. Our district already has a number of safeguards in place to protect students and resources to support their needs, but we can never be too cautious when dealing with student safety. So, it is from this abundance of caution that the district will be taking several steps to ensure that our students have the resources they need to be safe and know where they can find help.

    Today, our middle school and high school students heard a poignant message from Principal King and Principal Brandis about this important topic: seeking help when faced with challenges in and out of school. Throughout the rest of the week, our counselors will be visiting all K-12 classrooms throughout the district to further this conversation and deepen our resolve to accomplish one thing: LISTEN.

    Please know that our counselors will be readily available to meet with students upon request. If you feel that your child is in need of additional support or assistance, please contact the school. If you or child needs help immediately call:

    • The NJ Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-855-654-6735;
    • Perform Care at 1-877-652-7624 for support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; or
    • Call or text 988 (Suicide and Crisis Hotline); or
    • Call 911

    We are currently forming a steering committee comprised of school leaders, teachers, parents, community members, and students to review existing district policies related to Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying; cell phone use; student code of conduct; as well as policies that relate to culture and climate. The purpose of this committee will also serve to collaborate on programs and presentations that will best serve to educate our students and families on bullying prevention, strategies for using social media responsibly, and the importance of kindness.

    Finally, I am happy to report that our district has recently implemented the “No Place for Hate” Challenge by engaging students and staff to build a community of respect, kindness, and inclusivity. For more information about this project visit https://www.noplaceforhate.org/.

    Thank you for your continued partnership. We stand ready to provide support and resources for our students, families, and staff. Together we can make a difference.

    Vanessa R. Pereira. Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Dear Lacey Township Parents,

    In the spring, your student participated in the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) administration to measure their academic performance. Evaluating the results from statewide testing can be a helpful tool in measuring your student’s success in school.  

    Included with this letter you will find one report for each content area in which your student tested. The reports illustrate how your student performed on each test. There are also charts and graphics that show you how your student performed in relation to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and how your student’s performance compares to other students in their school, district, and the state.

    Your student’s ISRs are also available in the New Jersey Parent Portal. The online portal includes your student’s scale score, level of performance, and a video explanation of the score report. The portal allows you to track your student’s scores from year to year, beginning with spring 2019. If this is the first time you will be accessing the online portal, you must create an account using the unique claim code that is located on your student’s paper ISR. Additional resources to help support your student can be found on the New Jersey Assessments Resource Center under Parent Resources. 

    We believe the connection between home and school is a critical component of student success. Please reach out to your child’s teacher(s) and principal with any questions about these assessments or any other educational matters.

    Thank you,

    William Zylinski
    Assistant Superintendent
    Lacey Township School District

    August 30, 2022

    Dear Lacey Township School District Community:

    Welcome back to school! I hope you had the opportunity to rest, relax, and rejuvenate throughout the summer. It certainly was a hot one, but we are grateful for the abundance of sunshine that we had for the past few months. The summer is a great time to reflect on the previous school year and prepare for a brand new one. It is my privilege to welcome back the students, families, and staff of the Lacey Township SchoolDistrict, ready to continue A Tradition in Pride...and A Tradition in Excellence.

    As we begin a new school year, we focus on supporting the most critical factors impacting student achievement – the instruction that our students receive and the staff who teach them. We are grateful for our dedicated staff and the important work they do. In addition to the excellent academic programming, we provide year-to-year, we also look ahead to new academic programs that will enhance our students’ educational experience. Throughout the school year, we will be showcasing these great programs and highlighting our enthusiasm for teaching and learning. During the summer months, we worked collaboratively to introduce new programs and revise existing ones, including:

    ● Revision of the K-12 curriculum maps in all subject areas
    ● Upgraded literacy skills evaluation program for grades K-5
    ● Implementation of a new Lacey Township High School Business Academy
    ● Expansion of the Elementary Special Education Program
    ● Reformatted master schedules at the Lacey Township Middle School and High School

    The District’s secretarial staff, custodians, and grounds and maintenance crew have worked tirelessly on the details that prepare every aspect of school opening. Be sure to give them all a “high five” should you cross paths with these dedicated staff members. Our facilities have also undergone some enhancements, including:

    ● New fire alarm systems in all six schools
    ● Upgraded building security hardware
    ● New interior and exterior light fixtures with money-saving LED technology
    ● New public announcement hardware in all buildings to enhance communication
    ● New digital clocks in most locations
    ● New boilers at Cedar Creek and Lacey Township Middle School

    Another area of focus continues to be safety and security. As such, we are very proud of the collaborations that took place with the Lacey Township Committee, Chief DiBella, and the Lacey Township Police Department. Starting on September 6, Class III Officers Bruno, Johnson, Russell, and Santos will join School Safety Officers Brignola and Norton for the start of the new school year. Our six officers will work closely with our School Resource Officer to ensure that our schools are safe and that our visitor management protocols are appropriately followed.

    I am excited to begin the new school year, and I hope you are as well. Enjoy the final days of summer. We will see you on September 6th!


    Vanessa R. Pereira, Ph.D.

    Superintendent of Schools