Live-Blogging from NJSBA

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We’re live-blogging from the New Jersey School Boards Association annual convention in Atlantic City — 10,000 school board members, business administrators, superintendents, vendors, NJSBA reps. The mood? A mite defensive, in light of the onslaught of regulations recently issued by the DOE limiting local authority and pushing consolidation. We’re somewhat technically limited, but here’s a few highlights that we’ll delve into shortly.

The button issued by NJSBA for all members to wear on their lapels:
“We’re Not Irrelevant”

Commisioner of Education Lucille Davy’s new title derived from her seemingly unlimited authority to order consolidation and hamstring local governance:
“The Queen”

On the DOE’s ability to figure out how to implement the new regulations:
“I give the Alamo a better chance.”

On one superintendent being in charge of two or more districts:
“You can’t be the general manager of Lowe’s and Home Depot at the same time.”

On district consolidation:
“This is not about education. This is about taxes.”

and,

“If you’re going to consolidate, don’t do it to save money.”

and,

“It’s a shotgun marriage. It won’t work.”

On New Jersey’s 4% annual cap on school taxes, in spite of the fact that collective bargaining agreements with NJEA are rarely lower than 4.5%:
“We leave our efficiency at the bargaining table.”

On Corzine’s initial determination to create 21 county districts:
“The DOE figured out that this idea would lead to an increase of $300 to $400 million dollars a year. They shared that figure with the Governor and now he acknowledges that this is probably not the way we’re going to go.”

On Commissioner Davy’s instruction to Executive County Superintendents to mandate consolidation of non kindergarten-12th grade districts:

“It’s a barometer of her political will. Will the Commissioner be willing to step into small districts and take on the NJEA?”

Stay tuned.

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