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, April 22, 2010

What does it mean?

You know I try to stick to local issues rather than county, state or national politics and "message sending," but I think this excerpt about New Jersey fits for Ridgewood.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the following based on Tuesday's votes statewide (comments in parentheses are my translations):

He said, "So, here's what we know about the New Jersey public:

1. They think the size of the cuts in state aid to local schools is unfair. (Translation: the state should give more $$ to school districts)

2. They think the teachers' unions should be willing to come to the table and agree to a wage freeze and benefit contributions. (Translation: They are angry at what is perceived as the teachers' lack of shared sacrifice.)

3. They don't want educational programs cut. (Ummm...no translation necessary)

4. They don't want their property taxes raised. (No translation necessary)

That about sums it up in Ridgewood, don't you think?

How you reconcile those things -- especially when some of them are out of our local hands -- is the challenge. We couldn't do anything about the state aid...we tried to do something with the teachers but they said no (some said yes but not enough) and the contract is legally binding...we cut $6 million in ways that we felt maintained our educational programs as much as possible districtwide, for the most students...and we kept the property tax increase at 4% instead of going higher like some people urged.

And what did that get us? A visit with the Village Council. If these four points were the key, then it would follow that we needed to cut more, period. Of course, you all watched as we made the cuts. You saw what else is on the list...do you see how #3 and #4 cancel each other out, when #1 and #2 are in force?

We'll meet with the Council soon, and take it from there. We'll get there.

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