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Do we really need fat-cat school administrators?

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

If N.J. Governor-elect Christopher Christie is going to reduce property taxes, as promised, he’ll have to start by whacking the biggest culprit: salaries and perks for school administrators.

Shauna Morrison (l.),
Gina DeMarco Gaffney

This isn’t editorial opinion. It’s a fact accepted by everyone except the overpaid stewards who have somehow snowed residents of our overtaxed state into believing they are the equivalent of CEOs without whose expertise a district would certainly fail.

Christie cannot waste time: He has to make sure every overstuffed salary line is taken for a ride.

“If I had just one little wish, it would be that he would take a stand on the lunatic school funding issue we face in New Jersey,” Shauna Morrison, a mom from Somerset, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .  “Question is: Does he have the balls and tenacity to tackle it?

“When we speak of high taxes in NJ, we’re ultimately talking school funding and everybody thinks cutting school funding hurts our kids. But the truth is, the trickle-down impact directly in the classroom is minimal: The drain and spend happens higher up the food chain.”

Another mother, Gina DeMarco Gaffney, agrees:

“Cutting taxes will not weaken our schools. Our public school system receives so much funding now, and the schools in NJ simply don’t pass the grade. This is not the fault of the teachers. It is the fault of school administrations who have their own agendas and goals that have nothing to do with the children.”

“You’re 100 percent right,” Morrison said. “The teachers and counselors are left begging for scraps of resources for the classroom and the money is being drained with no accountability.”

Both New Jersey moms are highly educated, with jobs that crash through ceilings. They are more than qualified to discuss the issues.

“The inefficiency is outrageous,” Morrison said.  “Every teacher out there well knows that the major spending and siphoning happens at the top, long before pencils and classroom supplies are distributed and the actual teaching begins.”

“There are so many ways for the schools to get money,” Gaffney added, “yet the kids never see it and the teachers never see it. The lengthy list of school supplies that parents must purchase each year is astounding! Did anyone ever stop to ask why we’re buying these things when we pay property taxes — part of which is to support the schools — and for which the schools receive funding.”

Morrison: “We spend more, yet scores are not significantly improving.  Abbott districts are showing no improvement.  The only people able to do less at work, offer horrid results and keep their very, very, very high paying jobs and show up Abbott School administrators are weather forecasters.”

“The approximately $32,000 spent per child in Abbott districts sure isn’t translated into better opportunity or education.  It’s a mess that desperately needs to be addressed and cleaned up.”

“The schools pull underperforming students away from standardized national tests to inflate performance,” Morrison said.  “Teachers are under fire to fix a system that’s unsupported with limited classroom resources — thanks to the siphoning at upper levels — and are defensive. Parents hear we need more, when the real message should be that they need a reallocation of the tax dollars collected.”

“Do folks know that the schools receive incentive funding if the school scores “high” on the school report card?” Gaffney added. “Hmm…how does one score “high”? By teaching the children, yes.

“There is another way: Take the kids that are “average” or that may interfere with the results in some way, label them as special needs kids, and now they’re exempt from taking the state-mandated tests. Problem solved, right? Did you also know that schools receive funding for the flip side of the coin and get more money if they demonstrate a larger number of special needs children?”

“The more that government gets involved, the worse things get,” Gaffney said. “Too much government control/involvement is a bad thing. Can’t blame Bush for giving over $700 million in stimulus money to NJ and having absolutely nothing to show for it. Unfortunately, this is why I continue to pay property taxes in a town that has only one school that my son will never attend and no other services or businesses in town.”

“Our system produced greatness with far less only a decade or two ago,” Morrison said. “And I for one want to know what happened and what are we doing about it. Both Christie and Corzine dodged the issue. So let’s force the question and fire people up.

“Every single New Jersey resident that stays silent and shrugs their shoulders and ignores it should be ashamed.”

“So many people turn a blind eye to it all if it doesn’t directly impact their child,” Gaffney said. “Well, guess what? It impacts ALL of our children in some way. I’ve heard too many parents say that they will not speak out because they were told that the district will make it “hard” for them.

“The schools should be held accountable by the PUBLIC for what they do. Remember: They work for us!”

Morrison agreed.

“If it wasn’t such an “old boy/scratch mine and I’ll do yours” system, I’d apply for the job myself,” she said. “And I’d do a better job managing it on a bad day than they do on their very best day.”

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