The Murphy administration and New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Local Government Services recently announced that applications are now being accepted for the distribution of $10 million in available funding through the Local Efficiency Achievement Program that was allocated in the fiscal year 2023 state budget, according to a news release.

LEAP provides financial assistance to local government entities such as school districts to commission school district regionalization feasibility studies. The grants also fund other initiatives to identify, study and implement shared services through counties, municipalities, authorities and fire districts across the state.

“Because many New Jersey local governments are still feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of an uncertain economy on budgets and operations, sharing services has become an increasingly used tool as one way of overcoming financial challenges,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “DCA is proud to assist communities with these shared services efforts through our LEAP initiative, which has proven to be helpful to local governments that want to make shared services ideas a reality.”

LEAP is comprised of three primary components: challenge, implementation and county coordinator fellowship grants.

Implementation grants provide monies for reimbursement of costs associated with school consolidation and countywide school district studies that support the creation of meaningful and implementable regionalization plans. K-12 regionalization and countywide school district studies will be given first priority.

This is a rolling application process. Applicants are reminded that limited funding is available under the applicable fiscal year 2023 appropriation, and awards under the fiscal year 2023 funding cycle must be made on or before June 30, 2023. Applicants are encouraged to submit a completed application package by March 15, 2023, to ensure consideration for the fiscal year 2023 funding cycle.

To date, over $8 million in LEAP grants have been awarded in support of shared services throughout the state.

DLGS is responsible for administering the LEAP program. Eligible entities are invited to apply for grant funds under each of the LEAP grants.

Learn more about recent shared services agreements that DCA has helped facilitate and get details on how to apply for various grants and more by referring to the full news release.

For further information about LEAP grant guidelines and required documentation, visit the DLGS website.

You can also request information about LEAP grants via email.

Different Than SREP Grants

Please note that the LEAP grant program is separate and apart from the School Regionalization Efficiency Program. SREP, which was established by P.L.2021, c.402, also provides grant funding to study the feasibility of school district regionalization and consolidation. School districts that receive SREP grants and that are currently experiencing reductions in state aid pursuant to the law commonly referred to as “S-2” are eligible to receive state aid according to an alternative phase-out schedule that would reduce the magnitude of the districts’ state aid reductions. Recipients of LEAP grants are not eligible for a modified aid schedule.

More information on SREP grants can also be found on the DLGS website.