Next Tuesday, March 31, the Hoboken Board of Education will hold our most important meeting of the year. We will be adopting our budget for 2009-2010. If you care about taxes or children’s education it would be well worth your while to be there. Last week the board voted unanimously to introduce for consideration Superintendent Raslowsky’s proposed budget which comes in at $59,360,223. The budget includes a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy, and is a blueprint of the priorities the Superintendent is advancing.
We are discouraged by the priorities Superintendent Raslowsky has so far supported in his tenure as leader of our district. To put it bluntly, our sole focus is getting the best education for our children possible with the money we are entrusted with, and spending that money as carefully as we spend our own. Judging by his budget, Jack Raslowsky does not share our priorities. Unless his priorities are radically altered, we will be forced to vote no.
Our concerns are not new. Last year, we demanded and got a promise to redirect almost one million dollars back into the classroom – and away from administrative overhead – before we would vote to support the budget. Superintendent Raslowsky made that promise, but he completely failed to deliver. The budget was passed with our support, but the new programs were never implemented, and the money was frittered away. Much of the frustration with the one program brought to the board was that it was diverting attention and resources from needed efforts to support existing students, programs and address failing test scores.
Now, as a result of experience, trust is gone. We are asked again to support a budget with too much overhead. Unless this budget is improved, we must say no. The day is past when the district can afford redundant staff, or those on the payroll for who they know, not what they do. Let us be clear: There are substantial cuts that can be made will little or no impact on our students. The public has had more than enough, and those cuts must be made. The only question is will it happen this Tuesday, so we can support the budget, or after the budget is rejected by the voters on April 21st.
We invite you to the Wallace Gym at 7:00 to hear the answer.
Rose Marie Markle