School Board Games

Joe Albright of Jersey Journal wonders aloud whether Senate President Dick Codey is “running out the clock” on legislation that would move school board elections from April to November. Codey has scheduled only two voting sessions, February 23d and March 16th. Comments Albright, Lawmakers, who often talk about “participatory democracy” and reducing local costs, should embrace the April to November switch. The New Jersey Education Association consistently opposes November elections. The union’s critics claim the …

Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work

My Central Jersey reports that a group of 13 teachers and administrators from Edison used a $897,500 federal grant to travel to India for 12 days to learn how to jumpstart a new course in Hindi at the two district high schools. Maybe the kids in Edison can plan for careers in providing stateside tech support for computer-challenged Indians.

Teacher Pay Palaver

The lead article in the Star-Ledger today says that the economic recession is slightly influencing teacher contract talks, but not without some blowback by the NJEA. According to NJSBA, the average salary increase in New Jersey for the 2004-2005 school year was 4.69%, but for contracts negotiated since October the average is 4.4%. Statistical aberration or trend? NJEA says the economy should have no impact on teacher salaries. According to the Star-Ledger, NJEA spokeswoman Christy …

It’s the NJEA, Stupid

The Beacon, a weekly paper in Lambertville (Hunterdon County), praises two local school districts for freezing administrators’ salaries for the coming year. Lambertville Public School and West Amwell Elementary School share a superintendent and a business administrator. What’s that save them? $10K? Hey, it’s real money. At any rate, the editorial, perhaps inadvertently, gets to the real point of this new trend (yes, it’s a trend) of freezing the salaries of top administrators, often at …

Abbott vs. SFRA

The Asbury Park Press has a well-reasoned editorial today on why Corzine should reverse his preschool plans right now. This past Spring Corzine announced to great fanfare that the DOE would roll out mandates requiring school districts to provide full-day preschool to all low-income 3 and 4 year old children. This plan, in its original conception, had the State providing about $12,000 per child per year. As it has become clearer that the State won’t …

Sunday Leftovers

Prison Prep?: Martin Perez, of the Latino Leadership Alliance of NJ, testifies on the connection between failing schools in cities like Newark and Camden, wasted money, and inevitable imprisonment: New Jersey spends more per pupil on education than any other state in the nation, and within New Jersey urban districts spend more than any others: Newark at $25,000 per pupil; Camden at $30,000 per pupil. Yet these districts graduate an overwhelmingly disproportionate percentage of its …

Elizabethean Manners

The Star-Ledger reports that a group of enraged parents have filed a court injunction against the Elizabeth Board of Education for limiting their public comment during public board meetings. The Board passed a resolution last month that requires residents who wish to speak at Board meetings to sign in beforehand. The resolution also limits speaking time for residents to three minutes and gives the Board President the right to cut off comments for a variety …

Stale Doughnuts

The Star-Ledger reports on a bill making its way through the Assembly that would force N.J.’s dozen “doughnut” municipalities to merge. Doughnuts are small towns completely encapsulated by larger towns; for example, the borough of Metuchen is surrounded by the city of Edison and Princeton Borough is the hole in the doughnut of Princeton Township. Reed Gusciora, who is sponsoring the measure, thinks it would reduce costs through shared services, though the Ledger says the …

Trenton Conundrum

As Governor Corzine and Lucille Davy continue to woo the court to replace the Abbott rulings with the new School Funding Reform Act, the Trenton Times has a piece today on one of our 31 Abbott districts, Trenton. The Times reports that because the State has frozen Trenton’s aid to last year’s number — $222,000,000 – the Board of Education there is planning various staffing and programming cuts to make up the difference. While Trenton …

Michelle Rhee Pushes On

Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools and enemy of the tenured educator, makes nice to teachers in today’s Washington Post: I often speak of our district’s performance data with sadness and outrage. The situation for our city’s children is dire. Yet while I acknowledge the seriousness of the work we face, I want to be clear about something: I do not blame teachers for the low achievement levels. Her offer to the D.C. …