Last night's meeting at the new Bridgewater Municipal Building was a hot ticket! As with several other recent meetings it was chuck full of mostly teachers, a hand full of parents and some non-parent, local residents. I was somewhat surprised by how few parents were there! Lots of the "usual suspects" were MIA. Guess they were watching Simon or Sawyer...
Some teachers were furious about this op-ed by the Bridgewater Township President. If I were a teacher I would have been offended too. One teacher from my kid's school was especially angry in her talk. I see what kids say when they claim she can be pretty mean.
Others were nicer to him. It was almost weird - he is so young that many of the teachers said they had him in school, calling him "Matt"!
C's 4th grade teacher - who is one of the best we've ever had the luck to have - spoke about how the Science curriculum calls for projects but that the district can't afford the supplies. Mrs. Teacher spent part of the evening buying plants and supplies at Shoprite out of her own pocket. I sent an e-mail to my son's teachers to please e-mail me if she needs something similar. I doubt she will.
One parent really hit the nail on the head by stating that the vote passed by something like 0.0038% (I'm not exact here - maybe a reader can correct my memory?). She hoped the township would cut by a similar margin. I agree!!!
And of course there were the non-parent tax payers begging the township to cut deeply. I am sure they will get covered in other blogs, so I'll leave it at that.
The council members all praised teachers - either those of their childhoods or in their lives today, but they assured us they will cut because they saw the vote as a vote, no matter the margin. They are all Republicans in a Republican Town with a completely-Republican council. But I feel that winning by 30 votes in Bridgewater and less than 200 in Raritan shows that they simply SHOULD take the minority viewpoint into account. They don't have a huge mandate here for broad cuts! I guess it's easy for them.
Most of the council members did reprimand Steve Beatty for not bringing a wage-freeze vote to the entire union. On this point I do agree!
The teacher's comments - at least those who didn't praise the union - moved me! Toward the end I wanted them know I appreciate what they do. Maybe a total freeze isn't the only way? But then I think about the rhetoric of the Union President and I go back to my stand that they should take a freeze.
The Township kept mentioning $2.4 million as the figure they would cut. (which is about what they think the district would save with a freeze). But they see now that the Union won't budge, and cutting $2.4 million means axing the district's programs. So I hope they shave that number much smaller!
The district has already cut over $7 million dollars! That's more than enough. Wrecking the schools in order to make a point to the union is a delving deeper in a short-sighted chicken fight. So, "Matt", when you cut, please remember this!