I know it's been quiet around here lately. I am currently trying to take in the 85% reduction in state aid to the school district where I live and the 71% reduction in state aid in the school district where I teach. $7 million dollars in cuts where I teach. There is no way that jobs and programs can survive these cuts. This, after our union already made an unprecendented move two weeks ago to open our already negotiated contract and accept a partial pay freeze next year instead of our contracted raises to help save our district money in order to protect jobs and programs. This is all the brainchild of our governor, Chris Christie, who has been in office for all of 8 weeks, who constantly demonizes teachers and public education, and whose own children go to private school.
I am in awe, really. We already pay the highest property taxes in the nation here in NJ (my taxes are insane) and taxes will have to go up to help make up for some of the loss in school funding. The loss in school funding that equals the end of programs and the loss of jobs, fewer materials, fewer teachers, larger classes. Our schools are top notch. Not for long. People move here for the schools. They pay these ridiculous taxes for the schools. They move away to cheaper states when their kids graduate because the taxes are no longer benefitting their families. So now... if our schools decline, property values decline. All the while, taxes continue to go up. People will move out of NJ in droves.
This plan is a horrendous one. It is like the domino effect from hell. It's very sad. Tonight the district where I work is having a Board Meeting to go over the new preliminary budget with the cuts. I couldn't attend because I had to be home with my children and running one to dance class and so on, but it is with a heavy heart that I will head into school tomorrow to hear the damage. We have already lost all of our instructional aides, and last year they consolidated our 9 first grades in my school into 8. We don't have a lot of wiggle room to give back and now we are being forced to reduce $7 million in one fell swoop.
I just don't feel much like writing. :(