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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Higher taxes OK to save programs?

Quick note from a rest stop on the Mass Pike, heading back to Ridgewood...

One of the things the BOE is wrestling with is -- should we go with a waiver to raise taxes above the 4% cap, in order to reduce so e of the cuts in the school budget? I'm getting emails all day on both sides.

Many parents say "do it" -- they're willing to pay another 1% or 2% to "keep our schools great."

some other parents are saying "no way!" we can't afford any more taxes!

Others worry about seniors and others on a fixed income.

Others say grow the budget as much as possible now, so that when Trenton imposes the 2.5% "hard" cap next year, we'll have a larger base budget from which to start.

Still others say raise taxes more ONLY if there is some concession from teachers.

Thoughts anyone?


Anonymous said...

We can survive quit nicely with an 80+ million dollar budget. Ridgewood is bloated. Time to trim the fat.

You raise taxes at your own peril Ms. Goodman. Heck, there is probably more that could be cut except Cottage Place doesn't want to look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Right now the only fat is the wage increases - for what reasons is the REA not agreeing to concessions?

Laurie said...

Dear 5:50 PM, please supply a specific list of "fat" you would like to see cut, while maintaining the quality of our education. Cottage Place is certainly looking in the mirror...and there will be fewer faces looking back after this year. Honestly, be specific and then we can talk.

To 7:23, you would have to ask the REA for their reasons. I have not personally heard any reasons. The Board is continuing to attempt to talk with the REA leadership.

Anonymous said...


Here's some fat to chew:


Let's not argue that teachers have a shorter day than private sector folks. Top step gets a teacher $103k for 10 months. That's about $123.5k for a 12 month position. It works out to just under $2400/week.

So, if you make it to the top step as an art teacher, physics teacher, phys ed teacher or a music teacher, you pick up $2400/wk plus longevity, coaching/adviser stipends, etc.

We have nearly 100 teachers in this realm for the current year and add a bunch of over $100k admin to that and you have 75% of your outlays.

How did we get here? They are organized (unions) and the BoE is transient. I'm not picking on Ms. Goodman, but she is a volunteer. If she would cave on an REA contract and just not run for the board position to spare herself some grief. The padding of salaries and positions have been growing under our noses and when the state welfare check is revoked (I am not contending that this is good or bad - another topic), we see where we have obviously been overspending.

This is indeed a pickle. It will take a year or two for the dust to settle, but I know we'll adjust. Perhaps it will lead to a re-mapping of spending at the local level and instill some fiscal sanity.

Laurie said...

Just for the record, I don't plan to "cave" on anything, although I am just one member of a 5-person Board whom the public elected. And as for sparing myself some grief, that ship has sailed and I'm in this for the long haul.

Anonymous said...

Let's see Laurie, let us look closely at the Ed Center.

1) PR person
2) purchasing agent
3) part-time payroll asst
4) sect. making over $90k a year
5) asst. super for curriculum
6) asst. super's staff

And that is just the low hanging fruit.


Anonymous said...

Oh yea, and there is the "grant writer" we employ. Forgot about that one. Heck, I'm probably forgettin' a whole bunch.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with your list of "fat." the Communication person is providing us with information about the schools and the district so that the educators can do their work. The assistant superintendent of curriculum is doing a myriad of things including making sure that the curriculum across schools meshes and is coordinated - particularly at what are called articylation points (5th to 6th and 8th to 9th). He/she keeps up to date on what research shows is the best way to teach and on the changing state and national laws. this person also has to stay on top of all the testing requirements and monitor our districts complaince and reporting on testing and curriculum. Grant writers bring money into the district ...These are just the positions that i know about. Also I cannot understand the complaints about people who have been working 30 years and earn $100,000. Many townspeople earn much more than that - these teachers have gained training and experience, they do professional development - I don't get why they don't deserve the salaries they make.

Anonymous said...

This is a passage from an article appearing the NY Times some months ago:

"If senior year were to vanish from our high schools, either completely or in part, would its infamous excesses, feats of sloth, dances and stretches of absenteeism shift to junior year? To some degree. But what also might happen is that the education process, if it was shortened and compressed some, might help kids think more clearly about their paths in life and set out on them on the right foot instead of waiting to shape up later on."

It would also, one would think, reduce costs. Has the BoE or district ever given any thought to ideas that actually change fundamental education processes, rather than simply rearranging the players (and their salaries) on the chessboard?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the elimination of the fourth year of high school.

Laurie said...

Quite honestly, I have not really thought about it. I will, though. I promise. Let me see what I can find out.