The Finance Committee of the Board of Ed is inviting any interested voters to the Ed Center (3rd floor) tonight at 7:30 p.m. for an informal discussion about the recent budget vote. They especially want to hear from people who voted "no." Let's try to not be too cynical (you know who you are) and instead I hope you'll take them up on it. I argued for three years that the budget process needed to get input from the public much earlier in the process. The problem has always been that by the time the Board is discussing the budget and parents or taxpayers come to the microphone during public comment, it's basically too late to change anything. There's a tight schedule, dictated by the state, for when the initial budget is presented, when it must be finalized, delivered to the county, etc. It's been a constant source of friction...people come give their opinion about what they feel should be different in the budget, the Board listens, but since the budget has to go the county, and since the administration and Board has already spent weeks or months exploring alternatives, nothing really changes.
In addition, in spite of the District holding additional public meetings on the budget, and inviting questions at those meetings and via special budget emails, there are still many voters who have misconceptions or misinformation about certain facts about the budget and the process. Hopefully this informal conversation tonight will allow some of those questions to be answered.
So here's your chance to start the process for the April 2012 budget earlier...barely two weeks since the last election. Whether you feel this is a watershed moment in BOE history or just a blip in an imperfect process, I hope you'll agree that it's a step in the right direction.
Click here for the story about this meeting in Sunday's Bergen Record.
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