Chatham April 23 school budget election

April 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM

To the Editor:
On Wednesday, April 23 Chatham voters decide public school funding for the 2014-15 school year.  Please consider this: Chatham schools provide the best value for money in New Jersey.  Thirty-five percent of Chatham graduates attend institutions in the top Barron’s category, which is typically attended by the top 20% of students.
Chatham students have some of the best SAT, ACT, AP, HSPA, and NJASK scores in the state.  They win more county and state championship athletic events than most.  They are talented musicians, actors, and singers, performing in the most prestigious venues. About half participate in athletics and half in the arts.  They study languages from the largest economies in the world: China, Germany, France and Spanish-speaking countries.  
Chatham schools do all of this for one of the lowest dollar per student costs in New Jersey. Over the past several years, real inflation-adjusted Chatham per-student costs have decreased, an exception to the rule in NJ.

Many factors contribute to this success.  Parents of Chatham students volunteer at significant rates for school and community activities.  They are active in PTOs, Athletic Boosters, Music and Theatre Boosters, Chatham Education Foundation, Education Counts, and Chatham Athletic Foundation. School Board slots are filled by capable citizens, and meetings are civil and effectively run. Chatham schools attract the best teachers and administrators. Senior citizens are supportive and many attend events such as the high school musical “Anything Goes.” 
Over 90% of Chatham school funds come from local real estate taxes because the state of NJ allocates very little “state aid” to our district.  Chatham schools do not have a swimming pool or an ice rink, but still win state championships in swimming and ice hockey.  The district has been growing for many years, and many school facilities are operating above official NJ guideline functional capacity.   A Chatham home is worth significantly more than a comparable home in most other towns on New Jersey Transit’s Midtown Direct train service lines, in large part due to the reputation of the schools.
Even with all of this success, there are challenges to be addressed. The high school is becoming increasingly more crowded and needs more classrooms and teachers. The largest budget increase ($711k or 6%) is for special education, where NJ-approved rates for those students who cannot be accommodated within the district will increase 10%.  The second largest budget increase ($629k or 6%) is in health care costs for district personnel in spite of significant efforts by the district to control costs. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (“STEM”) programs need strengthening to be competitive.  The proposed budget includes funds to address all of these issues in a cost-efficient manner, and it deserves the continued support of the community.  
Please vote “yes” for question 1 (general fund), and question 2 (enhance technology).
Alan C. Routh, 82 Fairview Avenue, Chatham, NJ 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sat, December 10, 9:00 AM

Charlie Brown's of Chatham, Chatham Township

Breakfast with Santa

Food & Drink Giving Back Police & Fire


Sat, December 10, 5:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Kids Central, Madison

Parents' Night Out: Date Night

Education Giving Back

Tue, December 13, 11:30 AM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Tai Chi

Health & Wellness

To Be a Better Investor, Be More Rational!

Many posit the theory of rational man, who coolly and carefully calculates his self-interest in a logical manner. We all fall somewhat short of that ideal.  In the financial markets, irrationality can be costly. What are some of the common foibles, and what can we do to minimize their damage to our portfolios?

Don’t Make Decisions Based on What You Paid For an Investment

How ...

Chatham Borough Police Make Arrest for Theft, Possession

December 7, 2016

CHATHAM, NJ - A Chatham man was charged with Theft of moveable property, Possession of CDS (Xanax) with the intent to distribute, and Possession of CDS without a valid prescription.

On Nov. 6 at approximately 2:30 p.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Hillside Avenue on a report of a male taking packages from a front porch. A resident reported that she was alerted to the ...

January Open House at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA

December 6, 2016

The F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA, located at 54 East Street in Madison, will hold an open house on Monday, January 9, and Wednesday, January 11, from 9:30-11 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA offers curriculum-based, comprehensive childcare and early childhood educational programs for infants, toddlers, ...