BRRSD gets a gift...

I missed the big meeting on Monday... but I have a good excuse. It was my birthday, and as I'm not actually on the Board, I get to go on a date with my husband instead of an emergency BOE meeting. If you want to read two viewpoints, here is from Dick Bergersen's Central NJ blog and here is the Patch's take. So this blog is based on what I've read in these two sources.

As a parent I am really disappointed that the BOE chose to give $20 of tax relief per family. It's a symbolic gesture at best. It's less than half of what it costs to fill my gas tank (and for some of you I'd guess it's closer to 1/3 of a tank). It's less than half of what I spent on gifts for teachers in 2010-2011. My Mom (who died 10 years ago today) would probably say "it's 2 bottles of wine".  

We could have hired at least five teachers and reduced class sizes significantly in some of our schools.  this money could have brought back (even temporarily) the costs of many programs that have been cut over the past few years. We could have done much-needed maintenance around the district. There are lots of things we need in Bridgewater schools!

From what I understand there's still no contract for the teachers union and the district, so the timing of this windfall was probably part of the decision. Perhaps giving tax relief was a way to be "strong" in negotiations. I get that the district doesn't want to appear to seem anything but cash-poor when negotiating with the BREA. I have little respect for Steve Beatty, and I am still miffed about the union pushing members to politicize our K-8 schools (the high school is a little different, IMHO) by rallying in front of our youngest students and wearing red. That said, I still think the idea was that this money should go to the DISTRICT for educational purposes, not as tax relief. 

Finally, I wasn't there... so I didn't hear the public input session. I don't know what was said exactly, but I would like to shout out to one of the teachers quoted in the Patch. She is one of the finest teachers in the district, and one of the loveliest people I've had the luck of meeting. We have had several lengthy conversations. She loves her students, encourages their learning at whatever level she finds them, and she genuinely teaches from the heart. I wish I'd heard her speak last night.

Again I'm disappointed with the BOE. But I'm disgusted with the Union too! It's clear that they pushed teachers to show up at last night's meeting in large numbers politicizing this funding and perhaps making the BOE give it back to voters instead of to them. When I say I want the money to go to the schools, it isn't that I am looking for a change in the negotiations. I'm hoping for a return of lost programs, new teachers (even if only temporary) or capital improvements. In this heat, A/C comes to mind.......


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Update:
http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20110721/NJNEWS/307210010/20-out-580-towns-use-school-aid-lower-tax?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Comments

Poppet said…
I notice that I missed in my original read the part where some of the funds should go to tax relief. The district didn't return the entire amount to us, and I'm grateful for that. But Christie's inaugural hat trick last year where I took a large amount of saved money (I can't remember the amount and don't have time to look it up now) that our district (and others) had set aside when he first took office, I don't trust him to leave these funds alone that the district chose to use in next year's budget.

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