I’ve heard a couple of people say they want to vote “no” on the budget in order to “send a message.” Some want to send a message to the teachers’ union, whose members voted against offering concessions to help the budget. (I think I’ve already stated how I think this strategy is wrong-headed and dangerous.) Others want to send a message to the District, saying things like “voting no will force them to go back to the drawing board” and come up with different cuts.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “back to the drawing board.” We already exhausted the drawing board. Our budget process over the past few months explored so many options for cuts and savings. We listened to administrators and teachers, we listened to the public, we listened to each other and we came up with the best combination of cuts for 2010-2011. There aren’t a bunch of other cuts sitting out in the margin somewhere. $6.4 million contains pretty much every cut we feel we could manage.
And even if there were alternatives, going back to the drawing board is not how the process works. If the budget fails, then by law it goes directly and quickly to the Village Council. That body will then set the new tax rate. Whatever number they set, is the number we have to live with. Obviously, our elected Village Council members will want to do what they think the public wants…they are feeling their own pressures as they make their own plans to raise taxes for the municipal budget. So it’s virtually certain that the Council will mandate further cuts. So our school budget would basically contain all the cuts currently proposed plus more cuts to meet the Council’s tax rate.
Let’s not put the budget in the hands of the Village Council…They’re perfectly nice people, but they are not operating with the functioning of our schools as their top priority. They are not well-versed in the ins and outs of the school budget or day-to-day school operations. With their own election looming, they can’t help buy let political concerns influence, even just a tiny bit, their decisions.
Please Vote YES on April 20!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org