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, January 27, 2010

School Boards

Did I mention that the Governor declared January to be School Board Recognition Month in New Jersey? I'm just sayin'.

That reminds me...I need to update you on our mandatory membership (and paying dues to) the New Jersey School Boards Association. Seems there is actually some interest in removing the "mandatory" part of that relationship. That would be a good thing. More to follow...


Anonymous said...

what does the NJSBA actually do?

Laurie said...

From the NJSBA website:

NJSBA Mission Statement: The New Jersey School Boards Association, a federation of district boards of education, advocates, trains and provides resources for the advancement of public education in New Jersey.

Established in 1914, the New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of all of the states local boards of education. The 4,800 local board members who comprise our membership are the largest group of elected and appointed public officials in New Jersey. The Association provides inservice training and technical assistance to these members, all of whom serve without compensation. In addition, the Association advocates the education, health and safety interests of New Jerseys public school students and school districts.


In Ridgewood, the primary NJSBA service we use is the annual training for Board members, which is required by the state. It's pretty basic and not too detailed. We have invited our NJSBA service rep to assist us with goal setting or our superintendent review, neither of which were substantially enhanced by NJSBA involvement (in my opinion). Occasionally I've emailed the NJSBA legal director to understand some aspect of education law in NJ.

The NJSBA lobbies Trenton for school boards and public schools. Of course, that's the kind of activity that's hard to quantify in terms of cost effectiveness.

There are many other services that NJSBA provides, which we don't really use -- additional and specialized training for school board members, consulting on labor relations, development of policy manuals...

The fact is, we pay a relatively high price ($28,066 for 2009-10) for NJSBA membership (because we are required to) and I'm not sure we get our money's worth. We should at least have the option to pay -- or maybe pay for the services we actually use.

Anonymous said...

It's much like school choice. You wonder if you are really getting your money's worth.

If you say 'I would like my education money back and choose better education for my child elsewhere', the gov't says 'sorry, it's ours now - you have to accept what we offer or go elsewhere'.

Libs and big government types are pro choice, but not when it comes to education (or anything else it seeks to control)

Laurie said...

Beg to differ. It's not like school choice, but nice try. School funding ≠ membership dues.

Anonymous said...

You're right. Ridgewood residents have little individual choice on whether the school district is providing value in education for tax dollars spent.

You claim:
"The fact is, we pay a relatively high price ($28,066 for 2009-10) for NJSBA membership (because we are required to) and I'm not sure we get our money's worth. We should at least have the option to pay -- or maybe pay for the services we actually use."

Is it really that different? Ridgewood is one district of nearly 700. Yet it still has to pay dues, whether it uses the services or not.

I am one household of 8,000 with school age kids. I can't withhold my school taxes either, whether I send my kids to village schools or not.

$28k is not so much the issue, especially in an $80mm budget but it is another example of top-level planning that stifles local decision making.

Ask anyone in this village: If you had the option not to pay state income taxes and forgo all state aid, would you do it? I believe there would be an overwhelming amount of affirmative votes.

Ridgewood is a donor town and will always be slighted.

Anonymous said...

Ridgewood is one of several North NJ towns that functions as a piggy-bank for the Dems in Trenton so that they can grease their districts with political patronage jobs all in the name of educating children. What a scam. It costs us $22K per child in Patterson. That is a heck of a lot more than it costs us here in Ridgewood. And would any of us place our children in the hands of the educators in Patterson? See that's the point. Money doesn't make for a good education. The only ones to benefit are the NJEA and the Democrat politicians in their pockets. Shameful.