Monday, April 16, 2007

BOE Election Skirmishes

The latest skirmish in the school budget wars involves the local Boards of Education sending extra school election reminders only to the parents of children enrolled in the schools and the suggestion that voters should vote for Board of Education candidates with children enrolled in the schools.

I was prepared to rail against all this, but then I reconsidered.

For years the schoolchildren have been used as shills for the BOE and the NJEA by carrying home flyers reminding their parents to vote and with the arrival of new technology the schools began using their telephone auto-dialer emergency call systems to remind parents to vote.

Those without children in the public schools were left to their own memory devices and the sample ballot that is mailed out a week or so before the election.

Of course, the polling places are located at the schools and open at 2 p.m. (just about the time school lets out) on one of the few days when the kids are actually in school for the whole day.

BOE votes aren’t held on one of the numerous days when the kids aren’t in school – the days that not only mean the parents have no reason to be near the schools (and the polls), but that they are scrambling to set up child care and, therefore, aren’t kindly disposed towards the schools.

Candidates are using the argument "Vote for me because I have children in the schools."

It’s apparent that local Boards of Education want everyone to foot the bill for the public schools, but they only want the parents of the children attending the schools to vote on the budgets and serve on the board.

One of the founding principles of the United States of America is no taxation without representation, therefore I am going to suggest that only parents vote in the BOE elections, only parents serve on the board, and only parents pay the school taxes.

Sounds fair to me.

New to the area? Approximately 67% of your taxes go to the schools. This year's budget in Hillsborough is $100.6 million. School elections are tomorrow.

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