Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where is the Fiscal Prudence and Cost Cutting? or Why Wasn't the $2.4 Million Cut BEFORE Governor Christie Mandated It?

According to a group of disappointed former supporters of the Kids First political group and as reported on a number of online community forums...Last year's tax levy for the Hoboken Board of Education--the amount of tax revenue raised from Hoboken property owners--was $36,764,796. The planned tax levy for the 2010-2011 school year will be $36,761,743. These numbers were reported at a recent Board of Education meeting. This amounted to a reduction of a little over $3000 in the local tax levy. *

The following information was taken from the Kids First website on March 15, 2010:

1) From April 10, 2009---Kids First Answers to Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition Questions:

What specific proposals do you have to reduce the per pupil cost of the current student population?

KIDS FIRST: We need a forensic analysis of our budget. We need to understand the job responsibilities of each of our non-teaching staff. We need to review service contracts. We need to ensure that we are spending dollars that improve only student performance.
We are confident that lots of cuts can be made.

2) From April 17, 2009---a letter by Councilman Peter Cunningham commenting about the need to have a majority to assure a change:

"We should expect more from Hoboken’s School Board majority. We must demand fiscal prudence...I know firsthand how difficult it is to effect change. It comes down to having the majority. We need to have the votes to make a change. We need to elect candidates that are not afraid to be progressive and carry new ideas, which will liberate our city, our school district and our children from the status quo.

3) From February 13, 2010 --- Platform KIDS FIRST WILL:

-Demand that the schools spend taxpayer money as carefully as we spend our own.

Summary and Analysis: After a full year of having the Board Majority and having multiple members with years of experience as trustees of the Hoboken Board of Education (one member has almost 5 years of experience, another member has 3 years of experience) asking and receiving a detailed forensic analysis of the Board of Education budget by specialists Kids First hired, and showing an abundance of confidence that "lots of cuts can be made", the Kids First political group has delivered about $3000 in voluntary cuts to the Hoboken Board of Education's $59,000,000+ budget. Either the budget was already pruned by the previous administration (which Kids First has denied numerous times) or Kids First have simply failed to deliver on their promises to the people of Hoboken to trim the so called "excessive waste" of the Hoboken Board of Education budget that they said existed a year ago.

It was only with the recent mandate from Governor Christie reducing State Aid for Education by $2.4 million that cuts were made in the 2010-2011 budget. A vast majority of the "cuts" centered on a large number (18) of retirements.

Picture: Hoboken Board of Education photo from