Non-voters blamedfor budget defeat

To the editor

   There has been a lot of talk about how the senior citizens and the "tax-haters" defeated the school budget. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s lay the blame for the defeated budget at the feet of the real people that are responsible.
   But first let me say that I applaud the senior citizens and tax-haters who voted against the budget. Not because I agree with them, but rather because I congratulate them for two accomplishments. First, for getting out and voting their conscience and second, for making the minority voice rule the majority.
   Next, I must apologize to the children, board, administration, professional and support staff of the school district of Hillsborough. I am ashamed to call myself a resident of Hillsborough after almost 52 years of doing so. You deserve much better.
   And now to the folks that this letter is really directed to — the apathetic (or more realistic description-pathetic) non-voters. Fifteen percent of our registered voters bothered to exercise their privilege to decide the fate of our children, 15 percent of our registered voters have dictated to the majority the direction our schools will take; 85 percent of our registered voters found it too difficult, too bothersome, too time consuming, too trivial, too boneheadedness to take three minutes of their precious time to support their children, their grandchildren or the neighbor’s children; 85 percent of our registered voters allowed the few to control the many.
   Would any of you allow that to happen in the business world, or at your church, or at the country club or even in your own homes? Somehow I doubt it. In fact you would probably be fighting mad about it. But not when it comes to the most important things that your children will be doing for the next few years, learning.
   Many people have said that they cannot afford to pay their taxes. News flash, it is not your taxes that you cannot afford, it is the cost of the home and lifestyle you have chosen. So now you will probably save a hundred or two this year. That will buy you another few rounds of drinks next time you go out for dinner. And that is much more important than your child having enough supplies for the school year, or having a seat in an overcrowded classroom.
   When the state school report card comes out next year, we in Hillsborough will have a lot to celebrate. We will have some of the top test scores in the state. We will have the lowest cost per child in the state. We will get straight "A’s" in that section.
   But look close and you will see two new categories. The first category will put us first in the state in having the highest value of homes, cars, country clubs, dinner dates, vacations, green lawns and apathy for our children’s education.
   The second category will place us first in the state for failure to value our children and their needs. In both, categories we will get a big fat "F minus."
   The apathy comes from the fact that at times in the past when budgets were defeated, the board, the township committee, the administration, the professional and support staff and the children did more with less. Nothing looked different. But think about your own experience at work. When you are asked to do more with less, is your work product as good as it could be?
   Each time we pulled a rabbit out of a hat and made due. But there is a time when there will be no more rabbits in the hat. Is this the time? Will your child suffer? Is this the wake up call?
   So tonight, spend a few seconds of your precious time before you rush off to your jazzercise class or the country club, look your child straight in the eye and try to explain how their education is not worth a few minutes of your "busy" time.

Peter Passe