CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham resident Bill Heap was the only one to offer public commentary during the 2018 Chatham Board of Education reorganization meeting on Monday night, touching on topics such as the adverse effects of cell phone use on students, the rising cost of healthcare insurance and the right for the public to vote on the school budget.
Heap cited a Wall Street Journal article on the negative effects of cell phones and then asked the board to make 2018 resolutions to keep healthcare costs down and to return the vote on the budget to the public.
Chatham taxpayers no longer vote to approve the budget since the board moved the school board elections to November in 2015, joining the vast majority of New Jersey districts. The budget can move forward without voter approval as long as it stays within the 2 percent cap signed into law by departing Gov. Chris Christie.
But Heap noted in his exchange with board president Jill Critchley Weber that healthcare is one of the exceptions to the cap and that the public had no "leverage" when it came to a 22 percent hike in healthcare costs.
In her response, Weber noted that the public does not get to vote on municipal budgets or any other budget, and that the 2 percent cap was still in effect. Part of the exchange during the public commentary can be seen below.
Bill Heap makes his comments at Monday board of education meeting
Board president Jill Citchley Weber responds to Heap's request for a budget vote