Funny thing happened last night at Village Hall. I went to a Village Council Candidates Night, and a Board of Ed debate broke out. (That's supposed to sound like the old joke about going to a fight and a hockey game broke out...sound familiar? Anybody?)
Well, not really a BOE debate, more like a repetitive airing of grievances and misinformation.
I thought it was odd how so much of the conversation focused on the new lights at RHS Stadium and Stevens fields, as well as the Council's handling of the defeated school budget last spring. And by "conversation," I obviously mean mis-statements and vague promises.
Contrary to one of the candidates' statements, at no time did the school district approach the Village for funding of the lights, and the current funding arrangement was not developed following any "heated discussions" of any kind.
It was odd to hear such criticism of the users of the lighted fields, consistently referred to as "them," as those "others" who are somehow benefitting. Hello? They are the thousands of children of our town, children of our taxpayers. They are us, and we are all going to benefit from better, more efficient use of our limited field space.
To those candidates who lamented the short timeframe the Council had in which to cut (or not cut) the school budget (with the implication being, if they only had more time, they could have cut the budget more): Board of Ed members and Dr. Fishbein were all over town prior to the budget vote, offering to review the budget in detail and answer any questions. Long before the vote, the Board invited the Councilmembers to a meeting to review the budget and answer any questions -- in as much detail as desired. And as for the "new" idea that a Village councilperson could serve as a liaison to the BOE -- there has been one for a long time. Anne Zusy was the liaison to the BOE...prior to that Jacques Harlow was the liaison. My point is, there are many opportunities for communication and (no pun intended) education between the BOE and the Council. I don't believe communication or lack of time is what determined the Council's decision on the budget. As I've said before, the leading factor was undoubtedly the fact that we had already cut $6.9 million from the budget. There really was not room to cut more without damaging the district.
Anyway, back to the Candidates' Night: it was surprising to me how few questions there were from the audience. Not sure what that means...more voter apathy, I suppose.
I heard the Stop Valley people will be naming "their" candidate soon (possibly tonight). It should be an interesting couple of weeks till the election.
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