A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wanna Be Trailblazed Into Oblivion? Follow the Leaders

While you are worrying about our local school board's recent decision to sharply reduce the number of qualified educators teaching your public school children, Aberdeener is bringing out the pay charts to bash the teachers union. He is apparently concerned that half a dozen teachers received 2.1% annual pay adjustments for the past three years. (That's not much, btw) Oh, and another half dozen teachers got a pay raise in the past three years. Note his focus versus your own. Hold that thought and read on.

As parents and advocates of education, you should be aware that your school board has put education into their mental vice and are going to squeeze your kids' schools until the supposed irate taxpayer masses are sated. The board might very well be contending with cuts in state aid and the loss of one-time Federal grants, but the board has been itching for a fight with the teachers union for a while now. Goodwill is seriously eroded between the parties. Even if there was plenty of money, some board members would still be complaining about teachers seeking tuition reimbursements and the like. Their mindset is on taxpayer protection, not on education.

The problem with that focus is that long-term tax relief won't come with teacher dismissals or any of the other tinkering they are planning. Our janitors will still be wondering what hit them when local residents are opening their property tax bills and gasping. Like I've been saying, high taxes are the fault of New Jersey's overabundance of municipalities, not teacher salaries. Check out High Taxes Driven By Multiplicity of Towns, an editorial in today's APP by Gina Genovese, former mayor of Long Hill in Morris County. She's saying what I've been saying for a year in this blog.

Instead of patching together municipal budgets by absconding with library building funds and reconciling school budget deficits by laying off teachers and staff and outsourcing janitors, we need inspired leaders like Ms Genovese, leaders who can recognize that something exceptional, something creative, something less jaundiced and dog-eared than budget cuts needs to be done. Our current crop of leaders is trailblazing us into oblivion.


  1. Industry: Government

    In your profile says everything, there is no way the municipalities are going to regionalize before this school budget is due. If you say don't have job cuts, then what are your proposals? The schools cannot have debt for yearly operating costs.

  2. Regionalization empowers by its promise of huge budget savings. Creative leadership can turn such power to good use. Extraordinary times require extraordinary leadership. Think outside the box, Anonymous.

    Are you saying that there isn't enough time to regionalize?? Just how long do you think it takes to do the right thing and save tons of money? When's a good time to resolve this if not now?

    You're surely not defending the obscene cost of maintaining hundreds upon hundreds of unremarkable municipalities over the preservation of our schools? Saying it can't be corrected quickly is like throwing in the towel.

    Or maybe you are saying that we can't expect our politicians to advocate for fewer municipal jobs, appointed positions, and elected offices because that would destroy their political careers? Now that goes without saying. But a healthy political system like ours allows us to compel responsiveness in our leaders.

  3. Pat,

    You've misconstrued my post and you still refuse to offer any actionable suggestions.

    Furthermore, I challenge you to name any board member that has pushed for more improvements in education than I have.

    Cutting spending is not synonymous with cutting education.

  4. So you weren't bashing the teachers union in your most recent article? And you didn't add up three years of annual increases to make it look like teachers are getting huge salary increases? And you didn't make it look like teachers who received promotions in the past three years were getting huge increases on the backs of the school budget? And looking back, you didn't accuse teachers of getting diploma mill degrees to get increases in pay? And you didn't accuse union members of sloganeering? I guess I misread your posts.

    How can you be a friend of education when you have made it your goal since you got in office to make enemies of the teachers? By putting yourselves behind the eight ball with the teachers, the superintendent and board members made it a certainty that no deal would be worked out between you on health insurance and other issues. You have to make cuts, and that is unfriendly to the district's capacity to educate. I'm not sure why you don't see that.

    I've seen what you, the school board, and the two municipalities have offered as next best solutions and I'm just saying you've not exhausted the creative alternatives to your budget problems. These are extraordinary times. Don't respond to them with dog-eared approaches.

    I know you are frustrated with my position on this, but it isn't my job to offer black and white solutions for you to criticize. It's my duty to point out that you're not doing enough. Despite Sunshine Laws, board members have access to much more detailed information and are in a position to press local, county, and state officials in a way that citizens simply cannot. The potentials for a better solution are at your disposal, not mine. You've chosen not to stretch what's "possible".

  5. You equate exposing union abuses with being anti-education? Just the opposite. I'm fighting to make sure that every dollar we spend goes to promoting education.

    You want a list of all the educational changes that have been made based upon my recommendations? You think playing nice with the union will end their abuses?

    As for saying you're not qualified to suggest any budget cuts but you are qualified to argue we don't need any drastic cuts, well that sounds more like politicking than working towards a solution.

  6. I am sure that Colts Neck, Rumson and Holmdel are beating down the doors to regionalize with Matawan. Why don't you go to the BOE meetings in those towns and suggest it, see haw far you get. The teachers portion of the budget in Matawan is over 25 million bucks plus at least half that again for benefits. That is around 37 million bucks. I guess 90 grand plus free benefits for 170 days of work is chump change. I am sure every resident asked to pay taxes make 10 times that! What the hell lets all pay more taxes to lay off janitors and give the people that remain a fat raise.

    We have a spending problem in the state of NJ. Shared services will help, but without cuts this state is going the way of the Titanic my friend.

    You complain about O'Malley, but he only make 2x what the putz that leads the "union" makes, and he only teaches 3 classes! The thugs that run the teaches union could work with the board, but they will not. Word is the janitors want to work with the board, but the union boss will not let them. They are going to grab up a raise for themselves while new teachers and janitors take the hit. Good Union.

    All residents should vote down this budget overwelmingly if the teachers union does not work with the board. Then call your council people and demand the send it to Trenton.