A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, February 15, 2010

State Aid Cuts, Cost Increases Have MARSD Sharpening Budget Ax

Aberdeener is proposing cuts to the upcoming Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District budget in anticipation of rising costs and reduced state funding. So is Superintendent O'Malley. If you have kids in the district and are concerned about reductions in school program, or you are a resident who is concerned about increasing property taxes, or you are one of the many residents of Aberdeen and Matawan who have a mixture of interests and concerns about the schools budget, you will want to make your opinions known to the state and local officials who will be making these fateful decisions in coming months.

I personally am incredulous that people reject consolidation of school districts as a way to save money. They say that span of control would be lost. I grew up in the Prince George's County Public School System in Maryland, currently the 18th largest school system in the US with just under 130,000 students and approximately 9,000 teachers at nearly 200 schools split into 5 districts. My friends and I got a decent education and have gone on to excel in the working world, despite having only one schools superintendent for a large county system. Seems to me that having an expensive school superintendent in each town is just one more quirk of living in New Jersey. People have no right to complain about their property taxes, what with so many damned municipalities and school districts in this state.

Whatever your views, I encourage you to attend school board meetings and bring your concerns to the table. Remember that the school district's budget of $43.5 million dwarfs that of the Aberdeen Township municipal budget, which is only $14.75 million, so your attention is best directed at One Crest Way rather than One Aberdeen Square. Yet, inexplicably, few actually attend MARSD meetings.

And this needn't be addressed only at the local level. You should also be seeking information from your elected representatives in Trenton. Call them on the carpet for making our lives difficult. Why is the Governor cutting state aid to the schools? Our local school board repeatedly has had to deal with awkwardly timed cuts to state aid, yet we've just elected a new governor who plans to do the same. Parents with kids in ceramics class should be marching on Trenton with Tea Party members to get state aid to education restored.


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