The Ridgewood blog Urges all residents to support Jim Morgan for Board of Education and vote ‘NO’ to the Ridgewood School budget
PJ Blogger and the Staff of the Ridgewood blog
(RIDGEWOOD-NJ) So another Ridgewood School Board election is upon us and once again residents are asked to vote for the school budget and support the usual cast of community members who will speak with one voice for the Ridgewood school district .
The BOE has asked taxpayers once again to tighten their collective belts ,while it spends lavishly on copper roofs for the dilapidated Board of ed building on Cottage place that has long out lived its usefulness and should have been condemned and raised years ago .
The criticisms of the BOE are the same now as at anytime in the last 10 years, which can be boiled down to a few key issues ; 1) the BOE always puts its politics ahead of educations and the taxpayers ,this has been made abundantly clear over the years where not only has the BOE actively opposed all school reform but now even takes time out of their regular meetings to issue proclamations on opposing teacher tenure reform or immediately writing off Mike Doherty’s “Fair School Funding Act” which could potentially save the Village over $40 million. It still some what astonishes this poster that the BOE so often and so willing goes on record in opposition to both taxpayers ,parents and students. This leads to why most longtime resident remain skeptical as to the well scripted claims of “getting tough on the teachers union ” and assume the day after the election another huge give away will be announced.
2) The BOE has demonstrated a clear lack of transparency and will tolerate no dissension.We all saw how the so called “Math Moms” who were good enough to meet with the President of the United States yet were harassed and dare I say “bullied’ out of town for simply pointing out the folly of a math program that does not include simple addition and is primarily prescribed for inner city youth and not Ridgewood’s over indulged affluent children. The recent public spat with popular former RHS Principal Jack Lorenz added one more layer of disenchantment and reminded residents once again that taxpayers and the BOE are often working at cross purposes.
3) The rush to turf and the expansive use of field lighting all hours of the night has done nothing but make the BOE once again look beholden to sports groups and tone deaf to critics who questioned the wisdom of turfing in a flood zone .Yes I would agree that the turf has opened up field usage time but at what cost and who are these people playing sports all hours of the night? It is time for us all to recognize that flooding is not a one off event but a regular part of life in Ridgewood and we should expect the $30,000 plus bill after almost every rain event ,this seems to mitigate any cost savings promised with the turf and cut the tur’sf life expectancy significantly again erasing claimed cost advantage. The other issue that has rankled so many is lack of turf fields in the Willard school district . Many still find it odd that an overwhelmingly large amount of voters in that district embraced the “turf bond” yet remain deprived of virtues turf fields.
However we do commend the renewed emphasis on math and science at the schools but given the ridiculousness math program many remain skeptical as to its value .It is also of note that the BOE has since the Jack Lorenz debacle made a effort to better communicate or at lest give the appearance that it is interested in comunication . It appears to be only one way but it is nice to see the BOE be more forthcoming with their intentions.
Lets face it there is little danger in voting NO on the school budget .While BOE has so often extolled dangers and disastrous consequences of voting down the School Budget ,it would seem little risk given the propensity of the Village Council to make only a token cuts and send the budget back to the board. The Village council has a very full plate cleaning up the mess created since the late 1990’s by irresponsible fiscal policies and has neither the time nor the expertise to tackle the school budget especially one as formidable as Ridgewoods.
Unlike the BOE we prefer vigorous debate and are very skeptical of the “speaking with one voice” concept . While many of you have experienced the total distaste the BOE has for public participation at their meetings we suggest a more vigorous debate could have spared the schools the “dumb dumb” math program as well as some of the other “folly’s ” that have befallen our once great school system .This is not to diminish the effort by many residents, tutors and teachers who still hold the high standards that once made Ridgewood Schools the envy of the nation and yes they were that good.
It is time to make the “Tradition of Excellence ” something more than a bumper sticker slogan and it is no longer responsible just to sit back and claim the “state mandates’ are lowing standards or cling to the “happy beat Newark mentality that has taken over the school system in recent years. In a field of same old ,same old, yes men or women only one candidate has shown any fortitude in this years contest and that is Jim Morgan .Morgan is the one candidate that can make his presence known on the board and will bring a fresh voice to school issues. Morgan considered the outsider by many has clashed with the BOE from time to time in the past on field issues and some even call him the anti-sports group candidate. While he is clearly not beholden to sports groups the label of anti-sports is a bit of a stretch. Morgan has given a voice to all those who question flood zone turf and policies that promote field lights on till 10 pm giving voters a sensible alternative to the “turf town” crowd . Morgan, who served on the Ridgewood Education Foundation’s board for 15 years has a keen grasp of issues relating to schools and the simply fact that his candidacy has been met with such hostility from the likes of BOE regular Charles Reilly shows how effective one voice of descent can be. The Ridgewood blog fully endorses Jim Morgan for BOE.