Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The budget drama continues

Well that was pretty unpleasant Monday night, looking at the proposed 2009/10 budget as presented by Mr. DeSimone, with a line-by-line tale of increases and cuts that the district is proposing. (If you want to see the budget as it was presented that night, click here to go to the meeting agenda…the budget is on page 10-11). The administration has done what it needed to do to close the budget gap. The highlights of how they propose doing that include reorganizing some central office administration, reorganizing some school administration, reorganizing some other staff – all of which will result in staff cuts. There may be a reduction of world language teachers in grades 3-5, instead offering Spanish in a high-tech, interactive computer/DVD-based program. There are cuts in aides, cuts in co-curricular activities, the cut of summer school...There's the reduction in the RAAS (administrators' union) contract, and the cabinet (Fishbein, Botsford, DeSimone, Hall) forgoing their salary increases...Dr. Fishbein asked for more time to speak with staff who may be directly affected, before making specific cuts public. That seems fair. Tune in for more detail this Monday 3/16.

I wish we could find a way to not lose human teachers in grade 3-5 Spanish and I will be wanting to see the alternative program as soon as possible. There will be more discussion about this – along with everything else in the budget – at the next meeting.

Speaking of meetings...I don’t know why there always seem to be sound issues with our meetings. I hear it all the time (no pun intended) and it seems to apply to both the TV channel 77 broadcasts and (to a lesser extent) the webcasts. Apparently these complaints have gone on for years. It’s ok if you want to say something to me in the aisle at Stop & Shop, but it would be much more effective if you contacted Dr. Fishbein directly.

As for now, we’re all waiting with bated breath for the announcement of Ridgewood’s allotment of state aid...we should know something today! Governor Corzine’s speech yesterday seemed to have some hope for school funding, but you never know. He can talk about increasing funding statewide, and yet that money could go to other “needier” districts. We shall see...

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