Concerning the article "Oroho, Space, Wirths rail against state budget and school aid cuts," Advertiser-News North, July 18-July 24, 2019, based on their political rhetoric and a total lack of factual information I am in general agreement with them; but, I am left to wonder if they will ever start treating us, their constituents, as intelligent people by providing us with factual information so that we can come to our own educated conclusions, instead of their just dumping their political rhetoric on us?
The article fails to even mention the premier educational financial problem, the apparent eagerness of the school superintendents and school boards to spend us taxpayers' money. This rampant spending will never be controlled until such time as the State of New Jersey finally adopts a law declaring it a legal conflict of interest for a person who is employed, directly or indirectly, by a board of education, or who has an immediate relative who is employed, directly or indirectly, by a board of education, to serve as a member of a board of education.
Then there is the matter of the costs involved in complying with all of the State's mandates.
For some factual information:
1.For a number of years now most of the school districts in Sussex County have seen a large reduction in their student enrollments (these numbers do not include the tuition paying students): Sussex-Wantage -698 students or -39.44%; Branchville -57 or -45.24%; Frankford-289 or -40.70%; Lafayette -213 or -56.35%; High Point -590 or -42.11%. But the school boards basically didn't do anything to reduce their spending based on their reduced student enrollments. It was just tax and spend, followed by more taxing and more spending.
2. As of 15 October 2018 Sussex-Wantage's three elementary schools were at about 61.72 percent capacity, but there is no consideration to shutting down one of the three school buildings so as to save us taxpayers some money. Additionally, they have an office building.
3. Even though many of us believe that High Point's Superintendent should have been, or should be, fired for cause, the School Board , in its great wisdom, gave him a $30,683, or 20.80 percent salary increase plus additional benefits, plus basically made it impossible for the superintendent to be fired. It's only us taxpayers' money! Let's see, the school is down 590 students and he gets a $30,683 salary increase? All with the Sussex County Executive County Superintendent of Schools' approval. Shouldn't she resign? Obviously, she surely isn't working to protect us taxpayers. Then three Board members resigned, but we are apparently still stuck with the contract they approved. Why?
4. Meanwhile, school districts in other parts of the State were apparently seeing large increases in their student enrollments.
5. As far as I know, under federal law, the State of New Jersey is not allowed to print money.
6. I have read that the local school boards had about six years warning about the proposed state funding cuts, and obviously they did nothing to prepare for it. They just continued on with their tax and spend policies. The superintendents and the school boards were not blindsided. But, most taxpayers were.
Obviously the whole educational system is out of control and no one, especially not Governor Murphy, is doing anything to correct the problems.
No, forced consolidation will not solve the problems. It would just give the progressives/socialists/communists a better opportunity to control the minds of the children in our public schools.
I have read that there are about 600 public school districts and about 100 charter schools in the State of New Jersey; therefore, there is no quick and easy way to present State-funding information for each school district.
Therefore, in an attempt to actually educate the public about the state's education funding I would request that Oroho, Space and Wirths have someone research and issue a set of three tables showing the State's education funding.
The first table would show the State's education funding to all of the public schools in each County, including the Abbott Districts, for each of the last ten years. The bottom row would include the State's total funding to the public schools.
The information that is to be included for each year would be:
1. The State's total education funding to the County for that year.
2. The total number of students enrolled in the county for that year.
3. The average State funding per student, (or 1 + 2) for that year.
4. The total amount of State aid for the State mandated busing, if it is reported separately.
The second table would be similar to the first table but it would provide the State's education funding to each of the individual Abbott Districts. But the bottom row should repeat the information showing the State's total funding to the public schools from the first table. This would provide us, the public/taxpayers/voters, with a direct comparison of the state education funding provided to the Abbott Districts as opposed to the average State education funding provided to the public schools.
The third table would be similar to the second table but it would provide the State's education funding to each of the charter schools. The bottom row should again repeat the information showing the State's total funding to the public schools from the first table. This would provide us, the public/taxpayers/voters, with a direct comparison of the state education funding provided to the charter schools as opposed to the average State education funding provided to the public schools. If this table is too long, it could possibly also be by County without losing all of its informational value.
With the above three tables in hand, I believe that most Sussex County taxpayers will be able to determine for themselves if the State is in fact totally screwing us Sussex County taxpayers. With just the political rhetoric that was provided to us in the above-mentioned article, we knew nothing.
William H. Gettler