After spending about two hours at the Berkeley Heights Post Office meeting with the folks on the school budget and then voting, it looks like it will be a strong turnout. Isn't living in a democracy great -no matter how you vote! But it did sadden me a bit after meeting with some New Providence residents and here's why!
Governor Christie has asked that everyone "share the pain" in this difficult economic climate within the state. And the New Providence Board of Education has done what the schools of Berkeley Heights think is impossible. They are one of only 20 districts statewide that have received significant concessions from all of our bargaining units and administrators on salary cutbacks for next year. This includes their teachers. They met with those groups and they responded to their request to ease the burden on taxpayers. They all agreed and New Providence received over $500,000 in cost savings for the residents. Additionally, they have made significant cuts (over $900,000) in their spending this year, including eliminating staff: administrative, teaching, secretarial, custodial and coaching positions. They have eliminated sports programs, eliminated a language program, cut back on extra-curricular programs, eliminated technology purchases, drastically cut supplies and generally did everything we could to eliminate costs not directly associated with our core curriculum requirements and class size.
Isn't it ashame that Berkeley Heights could not do the same to maintain and improve educational excellence from a cost/benefit perspective for their residents and "the children" too. Priceless!
As they say if you put lipstick on a Pig its still a PIG. This budget is a PIG so if you haven't yet voted, VOTE NO NOW!
It's open till 9:00 pm tonight.