Letters to the Editor

New PAC or New Teachers: The Hidden Cost of Diverting School Resources Away from Needed Programs and Teachers

3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg
3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg

To the Editor:

Every budget a community votes on is a reflection of its priorities. It has often been argued that Chatham schools are a good value on the basis of the lower total cost per pupil as compared to peer schools.
But how are we exactly containing cost? Are we saving on administrative expenditures by running a more efficient ship than neighboring districts? Are we paying less for energy through better deals ? Or maybe we are keeping a lid on debt service from new buildings (or mortgage payments) by being more Spartan than our peer group?
 
The New Jersey Department of Education issues every year the Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending, which is the source of the comparative table distributed to the community. (http://www.state.nj.us/education/guide)
 
One of the indicators in that report, is Indicator 16 - Ratio of Students to Classroom Teachers and Median Classroom Teacher Salary
 
Let’s look today at the Student to Classroom Teachers ratio:  This ratio is the closest proxy to the class size students attend in any high school (more teachers make smaller class sizes possible). A smaller ratio also allows for more classes to be offered, both new subjects and more levels in already offered subjects (Regular, Honors, AP,…) in turn enabling a more differentiated instruction without putting an undue burden on the teachers. In 2014, Chatham had the highest ratio of all the schools featured in the comparative table.

 
 
Per Pupil Cost/Student to Teacher Ratio/Ratio Rank 
 
1. Chatham  $12,954 - 13.5 - 10 
 
2. Haddonfield $12,281 - 12.8 - 7 
 
3. Northern Highlands $16,570 - 11.5 - 2 
 
4. West Morris Mendham $14,561 - 13.3 - 9 
 
5. Millburn $14,608 - 12.2 - 5 
 
6. New Providence $13,165 - 13.3 - 9 
 
7. Pascack Hills $19,277 - 12.4 - 6 
 
8. Glen Rock $16,492 - 11.4 - 1 
 
9. Marlboro $14,359 - 12.1 - 4 
 
10. Rumson-Fair Haven $16,562 - 11.8 - 3 
 
Of course, the higher the ratio, the less ”instructional money” we spend on the students. But is that where we should be saving money? Assume the community wanted to modestly improve that ratio from 13.5 to 13, (which would put us in the middle of the table) we would then need to hire 12 new 
teachers. Some of these additional teachers would help reduce the class sizes (25 kids per class in most Chatham K-3 classes) and others would help teach new subjects the school does not offer (Languages in elementary, Dance in middle/high school, Science Research class in the high school,…) 
 
The cost of those 12 new teachers would be around $1M/year or the same amount we would be spending on debt service for a new Perform Arts Center, if question 2 is approved.
 
These types of trade-offs are necessary in every community. They ought to be discussed by all in total transparency, as part of a dispassionate, evidence based, facts and numbers supported community dialog leading towards a strategic plan that articulates the priorities of our community.
 
Nabil Mouline
Chatham Township

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net 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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

Mike Czech – One of Chatham’s Hidden Gems….

On a warm sunny day, back in 2008, at Southern Boulevard Elementary School stood a very tall man (6.5” to be exact!), soft-spoken, warm and friendly as he was surrounded by a whole group of children running around him (at his knees).

His name was Mike Czech and he was teaching the kids how to play a game on the open court.   I introduced myself to help assist him as a fellow ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks Current Events That Could Be Market Movers

May 23, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on CNBC discussing events that could move the market this week:

.ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...