Education Commissioner Brett Schundler has an idea: in the 58% of NJ school districts where budgets failed to gain voter approval, bring local teacher unions into the discussions and push for pay freezes. Recounts The Record, “Schundler said sometimes a new voice can help facilitate a heated discussion between two counter-parties, just as in a marriage. “There are times when I’m discussing something with my wife and we disagree” and getting another perspective is valuable, he said.”
That would be novel. The way it works now is that educationally-illiterate municipal leaders – town councils and the like – come up with an arbitrary cut that they think will satisfy the electorate and throw it back to school boards. Wanna put more pressure on NJEA? Here’s the ticket, must be the thinking in the Governor’s office.
It’s not a bad idea, though our best guess is that local union leadership will be instructed by NJEA to refuse to participate in such a huddle.
Then, of course, there’s situations like in North Bergen School District, where voters, notes Wally Edge at PolitickerNJ, rejected the budget by a 83%-17% margin. Therefore, the budget will go to the municipality for slicing and dicing. The Mayor of North Bergen, who will be the Chief Decider regarding cuts in the school budget, happens to be State Senator Nicholas Sacco, who will then send it back to North Bergen Schools, where Senator Sacco is also, conveniently, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools. Ah, New Jersey.