From the Atlantic Highlands Herald –
Middletown, NJ – On Thursday, March 4, the Middletown Township School District will host a forum on the way Governor’s proposed cuts to state aid will affect the school district. The forum will be held at the Middletown High School North Auditorium at 7:30 PM. The school is located at 63 Tindall Road in Middletown, off Route 35 North. Governor Chris Christie has been personally invited to the forum to learn how his proposals may directly result in nearly $6 million in cuts to the largest K-12 school district in Monmouth County. Middletown’s elected officials are expected to take part in the forum panel. The public is invited and encouraged to learn how the Governor’s proposals to balance the state budget will impact education in Middletown and throughout New Jersey.
The Governor’s recent actions to substitute school district surplus for state aid reduced funding for Middletown’s 2010-2011 budget by $2.3 million, and reduced our State Aid by $2.8 million overall. District surplus results from efficiencies in budgeting and saved cost accumulated through the year. These savings are directly applied to reduce the amount taxpayers are asked to fund the school budget the next year. It is more appropriately labeled taxpayer relief. The Governor’s actions will essentially increase Middletown property taxes to fund the state’s budget deficit. This is not an equitable action and the Middletown School District and its taxpayers are being penalized for the district’s frugality. Middletown has consistently remained efficient and fiscally prudent, as evidenced by the district maintaining a per pupil cost well below the state average.
Middletown Business Administrator William Doering recently testified to the State Assembly Budget Committee, stating, “Our district and several others have worked hard to achieve savings and have aggressively managed our budgets to save as much money as possible.”
Nice try by the Middletown Board of Education to put a spotlight on the districts needs and to inform residents of the problems that will be created when Gov. Christie imposes aid cuts to school districts, by inviting him to discuss his cuts to school districts in a town hall like forum.
I just don’t think Christie has enough in him to to handle such a meeting and have to answer how cuts to education will effect the local tax structure, to devote an hour or more of his time to defend himself in front of an auditorium full of angry taxpayers who will question his judgement on the issue.
So I wouldn’t expect to see him there, but it should be worthwhile for residents to attend anyway to hear how the school district and local officials intends to handle the cuts in state aid.