School budget talks are about to begin.
There once was a time when residents had a direct way School budgets are on the horizon statewide. There once was a time when residents had a direct way to give their input to the budget, by voting “yay” or “nay” for its passage. That opportunity has, for the most part, been removed in our state, but it doesn’t mean you can’t, and shouldn’t, be involved in the process.
The toughest job in New Jersey right now? School board member has to be at or near the top of the list. Whether you support Gov. Christie’s approach to budgeting, school board members have had a tough time dealing with a reduction in state aid over the last few years.
The vast majority of board members don’t want to raise taxes and/or cut services.
But, sometimes, there is no other option.
Across the state, almost all school districts will be doing less with less. But did your board cut enough from the budget? Too much? Do you agree with the tax rate? Do you think it should have been higher to provide more services? What are your ideas for cutting expenses and raising revenues?
Whatever the budget situation proves to be this year, what needs to happen between now and next year to make things better?
We invite you to write letters to the editor to share your thoughts with the rest of the community. If you support the budget, if you oppose it, if you have ideas that could bring additional revenue into your school district or help to cut costs, now is the time to share them.
Between now and when the school budget is passed, be involved as much as you can.
Attend school board meetings and express your thoughts. Public school taxes account for the largest percentage of your property tax bill, after all.
You’ll be sending a message to your board of education regarding what you would like to see take place in future years — years that promise to be difficult yet again.