The Glen Ridge school budget passed yesterday by a margin of 103 votes, with 19 percent of registered voters taking part. Karen Eisen, Tom Agnew and Julie Raskin all won school board seats in (yawn) yet another Soviet style Glen Ridge-style uncontested race.

15 replies on “School Budget Passes”

  1. So, 11% of the registered voters voted for the budget, 8% voted against the budget and 81% didn’t know enough to have an opinion?

  2. Because of a confusing array of Federal and state involvement in both funding and mandates I am sure many voters have no clear idea whom to hold accountable let along WHAT to hold them accountable for.
    Add to that the ability of local officials to always point their fingers at the feds or state as the source of all problems (funding and mandates) and the whole scheme is reinforced.
    Local accountability and involvement will rise in inverse proportion to Federal and State involvement and funding.
    Make schools more locally controlled, end the Dept. of Education. Total local control of schools is incompatible with Liberalism, in general and the Democratic Party specifically. Vote GOP if you really want local control.

  3. I agree, except that last paragraph.
    I don’t disagree that the Teachers’ Union has disproportionate influence in the Democratic Party, but we currently have the GOP at the federal helm and have for some years now. When do we get back local control? Right after Bush repeals NCLB?

  4. The NCLB is a mistake and wrong minded to be sure. But remember the Democrats aren’t against NCLB they just want it to be fully funded, thus an even bigger federal program. The NCLB was one of Bush’s efforts at bipartisanship. It was cosponsored by Ted Kennedy! So, in terms of the NCLB or any other attempts at “reaching across the isle” to increase the size and scope of the federal government the impulses should be resisted.
    Most conservatives are none to happy about NCLB or the other big Left/Right brokered project – the increase of Medicare benefits.
    The problem with Bush in some respects is his attempts to woo Democrats, oddly.

  5. We agree again. How odd.
    When the Democrats nominated a trial lawyer as their VP candidate, I seriously considered voting for somebody else. I just thought the GOP had adopted the worst of both parties: spend too much, tax too little and regulate in the wrong places.

  6. Yes. Odd. But online communication without body language and tone of voice with added attempts at farce, satire, derision, etc. makes for vastly imperfect “understanding”.
    The GOP or DNC are neither perfect (not nearly) nor always consistent. But if you believe strongly that local control is the answer to many of the out of control aspects of our body politic I don’t see how an argument for the Democratic Party can be made.
    At best, at best the Democrats would bestow some degree of local control from on high. The GOP would rather gut the budget of the Federal Government by force (lower taxes) to achieve more local control. (this means local taxes will go up to pick up the slack.)
    Neither are perfect. But I’d opt for the latter as more likely to be effective.

  7. p.s. This is why I take such issue with your school budget conclusions. How do we know to what degree the rise in local taxes are not a good sign of the reallocation of power and money to the local level?

  8. The reason I take issue with you is that you keep concluding that my main point is about poor school budgeting. It is not. I think the GR BOE does a decent enough job at that. We are below the state average in per pupil spending and our annual increase is no higher than the state’s increase.
    The point I have tried to make over and over is that there is not enough local accountability. I think we agree that since government institutions are not disciplined by the free market (Tiebout aside), accountability has to be imposed by the voters. The reason I have become frustrated with you in the past is that you seem to be picking a fight over points that we probably agree on. I’m not here to fight.
    For accountability you need two things: (1) disclosure, explanation and analysis of the spending and (2) an ability to change management if you think they are doing a bad job. I think we have number 2, but not number 1. Take this budget as an example: it was published in detail to the community the week before the vote. I think I’ve tried as hard as anyone who’s not a GR education insider to inform myself, but I have to conclude that some of the items in the budget make absolutely no sense to me on their face. I have tried very hard (absent showing up at all the BOE meetings and asking questions–because I do not think that is what we should be made to do), but I still do not know what it is we were asked to vote on. So I didn’t. I don’t know how to give an opinion on something I don’t understand. Next year I’ll try harder to have an explanation of the spending communicated.
    And frankly, once I do understand the budget, perhaps I’ll start offering suggestions for improving it. But first steps first.
    But, in response to your question, I think the fact that school spending has risen, not just property taxes, means that the reallocation of power to the local level is not the problem. And to get more detailed, the census bureau publishes numbers purporting to be the total spend on education statewide (including money from all budgets) and NJ has, once again, the highest per-pupil cost of any state. The statewide increase using this number is also about 7%. I’ll can bring that spreadsheet to the party because I know everyone wants to see it. <g>

  9. Milo,
    If we are to continue the conversation, perhaps we can agree to avoid characterizations of the other person’s motives in asking questions or arguing points. As such things like your suggestion that I only wish to “pick a fight” will actually, you know, pick a fight. Ok? Deal?
    Now to the budget. How else would a reduced flow of money either from the feds or the state manifest itself except as an increase in spending by the local BOE. If (prior to Abbott) a greater portion of construction for GR came from the state and now it does not, then it follows that GR’s BOE spending on construction will increase.(yes I know GR is not constructing buildings at the moment). But my point is that there are sure to be other programs previously funded at the state or federal level who’s continuance and reduced outside funding will require increased inside funding. So without understanding the totality of the breakdown of the increased spending it is my opinion that a conclusion about the increase in local spending is premature.
    All that being said, even with a full understanding the electorate will not get involved in such minutiae. Is that bad? lamentable? Yes. But it is a fact of politics and moving large groups of people to make decisions.
    So the “solution” to which I subscribe is to reduce the influence of outside government as much as possible in local affairs so that the Milo’s of the world will and can have MORE influence on LOCAL spending.
    The way to fight is NOT to foment dissent of the local officials but, rather to force larger political entities to butt OUT of OUR local affairs. If your efforts decrease faith in the local political system this only plays into the hands of the State and Federal bureaucracies. It undermines the real solution. We should be undermining the public’s faith in the State and Feds when THEY tell US the best way to educate OUR children.
    The most likely way to do that IMHO is to go with the “small government” party. While the GOP could do a better job at that, they are light years ahead of the DNC in that regard.
    Especially since a central organizing principle of “progressivism” is to use tax dollars to, in effect, socially engineer the “good result”. That is expensive. It might even be worth it, but quite often it not only fails but even furthers the problem even more.

  10. Well, as you know, I am easily drawn into a fight. I just regret it afterwards. But I said “it seems”, meaning my perception of it. I admit I have no idea of your motives.
    On to the substance…
    “How else would a reduced flow of money either from the feds or the state manifest itself except as an increase in spending by the local BOE.”
    I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is how the budgets are presented, for the most part. Most of the spending is in the expenses, and aid from the state or fed are in the revenue (along with property taxes) and the two equal, absent any borrowing. So, by focussing on the expenses rather than the property taxes you include all of the spending.
    Now, I know of exceptions to this rule, notably the payment of teacher pensions by the state. The census study I mentioned also says that some transportation costs are in other budgets. But I think that’s it. OTOH, I’ve already admitted to not knowing much so I’m happy to learn if you know of other stuff.
    In my opinion you underestimate the electorate. Aside from the journalistic truism that there is nothing more interesting in local politics than property taxes, I tend to talk about these things with other people I know in GR (as you probably imagine I would <g>) and they are often very interested and somewhat shocked when they hear about the level of increase and the long-term trend. These people always vow to educate themselves but can’t: the time commitment required to become informed would mean they would have to give up time with either family or work. Some people are okay with this tradeoff, some are not. But making information more readily available would mean that everyone has to make less of a tradeoff.
    As to the GOP as the small government party, if they were I would consider voting for them at the state level. But can you show me any evidence aside from cant that they are any more small-government than the democrats at the state level? I think both parties are big-government.

  11. BTW, if you’re serious about agreeing on some rules of etiquette, I think that’s a good idea. But they can’t only be your rules. In that I have offended you in the past, you have offended me just as much.
    What do you say? We might even get a few suggestions from the other locals.

  12. Well, I won’t subscribe to any codified rules at all. Sorry. But in this conversation, on this topic I’ll try.
    If property taxes are the overwhelming concern of the good citizens then why did only 18% vote? I am actually NOT underestimating the electorate. I give them full credit for not caring much. If the school bidget were of paramount concern to them more would show up.
    I imagine you will say they are not informed yet it will be *I* that underestimate them?
    Well you have me check-mated on the State Level of the GOP. So blue is NJ that just to eek out a plausable existence, the state GOP is a mess. Truly. So is New York State’s. If you are looking for “True-Blue” Democrats I would likewise not look in Louisiana!
    Evidence? I got a $3000 tax refund on my federal Taxes a direct result of the Republican federal tax cut.
    You can ask the federal government to downsize (good luck) or you can cut taxes and FORCE it to downsize.
    Of course they can always borrow and there is too much of that. But eventually the lenders will say no. Lenders will curtail spending much faster than taxpayers.

  13. It is to laugh.
    I figured your continual “play nice or I won’t play” speeches were just another layer of pretend. You can tell me to be polite but won’t agree to simple rules of politeness because you know you’re the brattiest in Baristaville. If you don’t like my attitude towards you, well just don’t respond. I’m certainly not going to abide by your rules if you won’t abide by mine.
    You underestimate the intelligence of the electorate, not their time and ability to find out what is going on. As I said before, I spent a lot of time and still couldn’t find out. Not many people have the time I had to spend on this. If people knew what was in the budget, I think they would vote on it, yea or nay.
    As to your contention that a tax cut is government downsizing, well, it’s positively Orwellian. Once again you’re confusing revenue with expenses. Borrowing today to finance big government is the same as taxing tomorrow for it, so your tax “cut” is just a tax deferral. Republicans continuing to sell this big lie is something of an insult to America’s intelligence.
    And when the lenders say no? Welcome to the third world. That’s the GOP solution?

  14. Go ahead a re-read this thread to see who is being “bratty”. Thought I’d give it another try. Couldn’t help yourself, could you?
    OK done now.

Comments are closed.