Proposal to end school budget vote off mark

Iwould like to thank Kelly V. Barry for the well-worded common-sense response to complaints by members of the Freehold Township Board of Education (News Transcript, Letters to the Editor, May, 28).

I do not live in Freehold Township but am writing to focus attention on a proposal currently before the state Assembly. Complaints by these and members of other school boards with rejected budgets are childish and selfish, but the proposal before the Assembly is outrageous.

I feel the Manalapan- Englishtown and Freehold Regional High School districts have shown a lack of interest in individual voter concerns, especially in small towns such as my own. But at least I still have the right to vote, and yes, I do vote. This proposal intends to finally silence the annoying taxpayer.

The stated reason for the proposal before the Assembly is to increase the number of voters by moving school board elections to November. Included is the intention of denying any say at all in the budget process.

The gall of the proposal is only made more vile by the sly comments to justify it. Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer and Middlesex) states that when a school tax levy is rejected by voters, the town council does not have a great deal of time to act.

That’s too bad, Mr. DeAngelo. It is unconscionable that you think silencing the voter is the solution. To use your word, I am “dumbfounded” at this arrogance.

Assemblyman Jerry Green (DMiddlesex, Somerset and Union) said the proposal to eliminate the budget vote is to have “more control over certain districts just wasting money.”

You should already be executing that control within the parameters of the budget approved by the voter.

Denying the voter’s right does not increase your control over wasted money, it just increases the money to be wasted.

The bill’s suggestion that the “taxpayers of the Garden State would be giving up the right to vote on their local school budget” is a slick way of describing a

blatant violation of rights.

I have voted both for and against budgets based on many considerations.

To suggest that the only measure for approval is whether or not a district’s proposed spending plan exceeds statutory or tax levy limits is to guarantee automatic maximum annual increases; justifiable or not.

Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden), who introduced the bill, and Assemblymen DeAngelo, Green and David Wolfe (R-Monmouth and Ocean), who are sponsoring it, should all hang their heads in shame.

April or November, I will still vote. It is each taxpayer’s prerogative to vote yes, no, or not at all. It is not your prerogative to take that away. This proposal is unethical, self-serving and truly an affront to every taxpayer in New Jersey. Taxpayers should contact their representatives and let them know this is unacceptable.
John Farley