Budget woes?

Every morning I wake up to NJ 101.5. For those of you who don't know the station, you can take a listen at nj1015.com. It is a combination local news station/conservative talk/jokesters and their motto is "Not New York, Not Philadelphia, Proud to be New Jersey." Not how you'd think I start my days, but we have very limited options on the clock radio.

So I start my days agitated and often calling the person on the radio "You Idiot" or worse. Sometimes I get really mad because they are talking about something sexual that my 11 year old doesn't need to hear before breakfast! Other times, it is a good thing to listen to them, as it keeps me in the loop on local issues. The vast majority of my news from NPR and the NY Times which have NJ coverage, but not as its prime focus.

101.5's morning show loves to attack the NJEA (teachers' union) and Corzine.

While I LOVE the kids' teachers past and present, and am very proud of the education they are getting, this morning's tirade did make a little sense. I am conflicted about the 4% raises that the teachers and administration will be getting this year (the guys on the radio were focusing on areas where they are getting 6% increase, but I don't think that is BRRSD, if I remember correctly, it is 4% here). In an economy where people are more than grateful just to have a job, a 4% raise is a lot to ask of the community. Our taxes are going up but not our incomes. Our housing values are in the toilet, but our taxes are still high. Even if only the highly paid administrators (Superintendents, Principals, Assistant Principals or people making over $100K) would take a cut in their raises, it would make a big difference and send a huge signal to the community that BRRSD is doing what it can to curb costs. Other school districts are doing it, but I haven't heard about it here. Personnel costs are, by far, the largest fixed item in the BRRSD budget and we are directly taxed on these costs.

At the same time, I want to retain top quality teachers and for that we need competitive salaries and a strong work environment, which usually includes good administration. It's not an immediate concern. BW doesn't seem to have problems attracting great teachers or staff. Even if we had lower pay raises, teachers seem to like their work environment. Most of my kids' teachers live in Bridgewater - only one of their classroom teachers, that I know of, lives outside a 20 minute radius.

Am I being coaxed to the "dark side of the force" by my morning ritual or is it critical thinking?


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