MONTCLAIR, NJ - More than 300 concerned Montclair residents and educators packed into the auditorium of Montclair High School Monday night to voice their concerns on the proposed $10.9 million dollar budget shortfall and Superintendent Penny MacCormack's resignation. During the presentation there were moments when residents and educators called out from the audience to vocalize their dissatisfaction. The meeting that began at 7:30 p.m. concluded after midnight. 

Monday night was also the Planning Board meeting. However, due to an early meeting and swift agenda, Mayor Robert Jackson and a few other town leaders arrived at the Board of Education meeting just in time to listen in on the Board of Education budget presentation. 

On Wednesday, Jackson issued a formal statement regarding residents' concerns with the leadership changes and budget deficit.

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Jackson stated, "I want you to know that the Board of School Estimate, in conjunction with the Board of Education, is committed to an open, exhaustive, anddispassionate budget process, as we work together toward a palatable course of action.  I also want to affirm that staff, parents, and students are indispensable partners in this endeavor." He added, "There is no panacea.  Tough choices and sacrifice will be the order of the day."

Jackson further asked residents to "summon our intellect" and "person-to-person respect" as well as love of the community to find a way out of the situation.

Residents immediately took to social media to applaud Jackson's display of strong leadership.

 

A copy of Jackson's statement in its entirety is below: 

"I know that Montclair residents are concerned about the looming budget deficit and leadership changes in our public schools.

First, I want to thank Dr. MacCormack for her service to our community and wish her success in a new career opportunity.

Second, I acknowledge that the prospect of property tax increases and program cuts is anxiety-worthy indeed.

That being said, I want you to know that the Board of School Estimate, in conjunction with the Board of Education, is committed to an open, exhaustive, anddispassionate budget process, as we work together toward a palatable course of action.  I also want to affirm that staff, parents, and students are indispensable partners in this endeavor.

There is no panacea.  Tough choices and sacrifice will be the order of the day.

Nonetheless, I am confident that if we summon our intellect, person-to-person respect, and fundamental love for our Township, we can see our way through.

I have an abiding faith in the people and the promise of Montclair.

Let’s get to work!"