Officials from those districts say they still have questions about the timing change and want to see how it works out for others before making the move, possibly next year.
Some school boards didn't want to take the budget vote away from residents and were concerned about politics being injected into school elections, as those in November will be held along with state and national contests.
They also wondered whether the law's requirement to commit to the change for four years would prove burdensome.
"A number of the remaining districts have not ruled it out for the future," said Frank Belluscio, a spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association, which supported the legislation and has been monitoring the results. "They felt they didn't have enough time to fully consider it."
In some communities, "there was strong sentiment to retain the vote [in April] so they couldn't move to November," Belluscio said. "There was a concern that school board elections would be drowned out by partisan involvement and the very large ballot for president, House, and Senate."
Last week, two of 39 districts in Burlington County - Pemberton and Washington Township - voted to join the majority.
Only one of 36 districts in Camden County and five of 27 in Gloucester County decided to continue with April elections.
In Haddon Heights, Camden County, officials face a $1.1 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year and plan to offer voters two questions on the April ballot to address the district's needs.
The first focuses on the base budget and is within the 2 percent cap; the second calls for additional spending to prevent some staff layoffs and elimination of clubs and sports programs. The cost would add an average of $110 per household based on property assessed at the district average of $287,887, officials said.
"If it passed in April, we would have the staff and programs at the beginning of the year; if it passed in November, we'd only have them for the second part of the year," said Michael Adams, superintendent of the Haddon Heights district. "Our thinking was to let the residents make the decision."
In Gloucester County, the Paulsboro, Franklin, Greenwich, Monroe, and Delsea Regional High School Districts decided to keep their April elections for much the same reason. Some wanted more time to consider the change.
"After some discussion about what the move to November would mean, the Paulsboro school board talked about the right of voting on a school budget," Paulsboro Superintendent Frank Scambia said. "This is the only time that people have a say in their taxation.
"If the vote were moved to November, and the budget did not exceed its cap of 2 percent, the voters would lose this right," he said. "The board felt strongly that they should retain this right."
In the Delsea Regional district, school board members wanted more information before making a change, Superintendent Piera Gravenor said. She also is superintendent of the Elk Township School District, which did move its election to November.
Delsea Regional board members "didn't feel they wanted to be in the forefront of making that decision," Gravenor said. "They wanted to move forward responsibly.
"If it works for others, and if you don't see school board members' names on the same political signs with council members, the decision to move can still be made next year."
In Monroe, the school board also was reluctant to take the vote from residents and "wanted to see how everything goes with the elections in November" before considering the change, Superintendent Charles Earling said. "You can always change later."
Staying with the old schedule, though, will likely mean a sharp increase in the cost of elections because fewer communities would be sharing the financial burden, Belluscio, of the school boards association, said.
"It's not a good pill to swallow," said Scott Campbell, business administrator for the Greenwich public schools, which paid $1,800 to the county along with about $3,700 in other election expenses last year. "We have to perform magic to get administrative costs down."
Gloucester County spent $96,000 on school board elections last year but split the costs with more than two dozen districts, Stephanie Salvatore, Gloucester County superintendent of elections, said. Now, a similar amount will be borne by just five.
That means Greenwich's bill from the county could mushroom from $1,800 to about $20,000, Salvatore said.
"My cost remains the same whether there's one town or many towns," she said. "Outside vendors have to certify equipment, we have to place ads in the newspaper, and pay overtime for my office."
The number of districts with April elections had been shrinking as school boards continued to take up the issue - even after the suggested Feb. 17 deadline to adopt resolutions and notify county clerks.
"We are surprised that such a large percentage did make the move," Belluscio said. "We knew there was a significant amount of interest in it.
"Once a few boards made the move, there was a rush; it steamrolled," he said. "The majority of boards felt the positive aspects outweighed the negative."
Contact staff writer Edward Colimore
at 856-779-3833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.