Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Voters say NO to Long Branch School Budget

Good. I did. And in my opinion, we should have. Sadly, more voters didn't make their voices heard.

Why would I vote NO.. I mean "kids count" right?

Here are few things I've considered, some have little to nothing to do with the actual budget...

1) Joseph M. Farina is making base pay of $222K for 240 days of work per year. 25 vacation days, 12 sick days, 4 personal days. Nearly $12K in "allowances". Another $10K in "Extra insurance". Then $11K more in his pension and $5K more in his retirement. A bit overpaid to run a school system which fails to produce results. Take a pay cut Joe and maybe I'll vote Yes to a school budget.

2) Joseph  Farina is such a pompous fool that he named a school after himself. When the school is renamed (at Mr. Farina's 100% personal expense) I'll be happy to vote Yes to a school budget.

3) These administrators make too much money to do nothing well also:
When these people join Mr. Farina in taking a SUBSTANTIAL pay cut, maybe I'll vote yes to a school budget.

4) When the signs on school playgrounds/fields no longer advise that the public is not welcome on the playgrounds or playing fields. We the people, the public, own the schools and the grounds. If we want to get together for a pickup game of tag or running bases then I ask what better and safer place to play is there than on school grounds? Worried about a law suit if some kid falls and scrapes a knee, perhaps what is needed a real reform of the legal system and lawyers, not banning kids from playgrounds. When the schools begin to serve the people, I'll be happy to vote yes to a school budget.

5) Teachers are generally overpaid. Not all, but most. For example, here is a teacher making 77K/yr to teach 1st graders in Long Branch. Now I can't be sure, it's been a long time since I've been in the first grade, but I think I learned to print my name and maybe say the ABCs at this level. Maybe I learned some addition too, but I certainly didn't learn about rocket science. Regardless, in first grade, we're not talking about a job that requires advanced knowledge like the high school calc teacher or the chemistry teacher, or even the home ec teacher who might have to at least know how to put out a fire should the oven be set aflame by someone's cupcakes. In fairness, I also found many teachers and administrators where the salary seemed a bit low for the responsibility/grade level.

6) When someone in Long Branch kindly reviews the 3 and 4 year old program and discovers that 50% of the students in the program don't live in Long Branch but use a Long Branch address in order to take advantage of the cheap day care. We have a whole school dedicated to 3 year olds and I think there might be 3 year olds taking up class room space in a second building now. Of course, as I've been caught saying in the past, putting 3 year olds in "school" is ridiculous anyhow; it's public day-care. 

7) When I stop getting letters from the school in NOT ONE (1), NOT TWO (2), BUT in THREE (3) different languages. Send the letter in English. Only English. I know we don't have an official language here in the USA but let's be honest, English is the unofficial official language. I don't need to pay to have a letter translated into Spanish and Portuguese every time a letter goes out and I don't need to send 3 sheets of paper through the printer (triple the cost) and through the mail. Save a tree or something, it's Earth day. When the local ACLU or some other group of dolts complains, ask them politely to use money THEY have raised to translate, print and mail the letter to their members... Seeing as there is a large Jewish community in the Elberon section of Long Branch, I've been awaiting a 4th translation/page in Hebrew... not to give out bad ideas or anything.

And by the way - I  voted NO and wrote myself in. I will NOT "choose three" when there are only three names to choose from. I think this is how elections used to work in Iraq and still work in Iran.

The bottom line is that the public school system, not so different from the public DMV system, is just broken and more money on a broken system doesn't solve the problems. I'm glad to see the budget voted against and I hope that the school board and administrator begin to review the problems and make the drastic and significant changes that are needed here in Long Branch and throughout the state.

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