Sunday Leftovers

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Not a merry holiday for New Jersey School Boards Association: First, the bruhaha over lobbyists who collect government pensions, including 47 NJSBA retirees and 73 current NJSBA employees with annual pensionable salaries. New legislation (sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester) would throw lobbyists off the gravy train. Second, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, would make membership in NJSBA optional for N.J. school districts. Right now membership is mandatory, and board dues contribute $7.4 million of NJSBA’s $10 million annual budget. Do districts get their money’s worth? An informal poll says “no.” On the other hand, NJSBA does put on a nice annual conference, and boards value its data base of collective bargaining settlements with local units of NJEA.

Mike Yaple, NJSBA spokesman, told the Star-Ledger, “The bill would make it far more difficult for the New Jersey School Boards Association to provide school districts with assistance ranging from policy to legal services; to offer state-mandated training to school board members; and to help them negotiate against one of the most powerful, well-financed labor unions in the state.”

New legislation would require school districts to use up any surplus over 2% of their annual budgets. Even Paul Mulshine thinks it’s a bad idea.

Bloomberg News looks at whether Gov.-elect Christie can really cut state spending by 25%. N.J. state gov’t already chips in less to school costs than most other states (36% compared to a national average of 48%). “Frank Belluscio, spokesman for [NJSBA], said districts may need to choose between repairing roofs and boilers and reducing teachers and aides as they draw down surpluses.”

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