It Takes a Village:
The saga of (Dr.) James Wasser’s educational adventures as Freehold Superintendent continues apace. Predictably, the winning school board candidates ran on an anti-Wasser slate based on his flaunting of a bogus doctoral degree from a diploma mill. Democracy is a wondrous thing.
D.O.E. to Trenton: Don’t Think Ahead:
Superintendent Rodney Lofton of Trenton got grilled by the City Council this week on why he is cutting up to 400 staff members, a number that includes 177 cafeteria workers who would be replaced by a private company (a usually cheaper option for a district: no big benefits packages and no union to deal with). When City Council President Paul Pintella asked about the typically large number of students who show up unexpectedly in September and whom might affect staffing needs, Lofton explained that “the state Department of Education, which provides most of the district’s $289 million budget, does not allow budgeting based on projections of late registrants.”
Really? Projections are not part standard operating procedures for budgeting? In what universe?
Rosa Diaz, Principal of a Carteret school, has filed assault charges against the President of Carteret Teacher’s Association for hitting her with a classroom door.
Star-Ledger Reads the Tea Leaves on Low Voter Turnout:
What do the results mean? It’s hard to draw any general conclusions, especially when voter turnout was a dismal 13.4 percent. School elections never bring out many voters, in part because they come in April with far less publicity than the general election in November. As we’ve said before, that should change.
Board Seat Winner in Ramsey Explains Why He Won:
From The Record: “Political enemies, friends and strangers alike cast their ballot for him, he said, because they share his beliefs — that the teachers should pay for their health benefits and that their raises should be smaller, given the economic conditions.”
Trenton Times Pushes November Elections:
While those who advocate keeping school board elections in April argue that November elections would “clog up the ballot” and “confuse voters” (boy, they must think we’re stupid!),
We reject that argument. Voters soon would get used to looking for and voting on the budget questions and the candidates running for office. Municipalities now send out sample ballots and many newspapers, including this one, still publish voter guides to help citizens learn the candidates and issues before heading into the polls.
A fall vote would be a far better barometer of what constituents think of their public school system. Eliminating the spring elections also would save towns the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to run an election.
Gloucester County Times Urges Continued Consolidation Talks:
Despite the budget approvals, there is no cause for complacency. Education costs continue to comprise the largest part of property tax bills. Tuesday’s vote should not be seen as a mandate by school boards and superintendents to discontinue district merger and shared service talks.
The D.O.E. Needs to Lose their Rigidity:
Especially regarding the School Funding Reform Act when applied to towns who don’t need their help. Lake Como and Pemberton, two non-operating districts, were forced by the State to raise taxes even when the money wasn’t needed because of an arcane mechanism embedded in the S.F.R.A. (See Asbury Park Press article here.) Unless this is actually a politically-astute ploy by Lucille Davy to demonstrate to non-ops that they’re better off in oblivion than in the universe of school-tax paying districts.