What Do I Know? I'm New Here.
I have only lived in NJ for just over a year. This probably means I shouldn't be speaking out on the way the place is run. Actually, most of what I have had to say about living here has been glowingly positive. I love my town. I love the people. I couldn't be happier. Except, (you knew that was coming right) now there are major funding issues and I just can't keep my mouth shut anymore. It has taken me a while to speak out because I couldn't even wrap my mind around what was going on.
When the Governor says he is cutting funding, in part to force the hands of the Teacher's Union, it brings out many emotions. First, I laughed-thinking certainly this is an SNL skit and not real life. Then I waited for the recant; figuring for sure this was an empty threat and not something he would actually go through with. Then, as I read the numbers and reality sunk in, it was horror that that took over my emotions. One report said that the district I live in would receive $20,000 from the state. $20,000? Really? That's the annual tax on one property in this town.
I am a former teacher, so admittedly I always skew toward teacher rights. They are one of the hardest working group of people you'll meet. Most of what they do is not in their job description. They are constantly asked to do more with less. Typically, they do not "cheat" the system or try to get something for nothing. I know I haven't lived here for long, but when I'm told the teachers have, "quite a deal" because they have cheap health care I just can't get behind that conspiracy theory. These are not people who are in it for the money. Their salaries hardly qualify them as fat cats. If they get cheap heath care and good pensions, it is probably to make up for their paltry annual salaries. Maybe my teacher bias means I can't see the situation clearly, but I don't think so. I am also a parent now, so I have an entirely different set of reasons for studying and complaining about the current school situation here in my new home state.
I moved here from a transient area. One thing I hated was when people moved in and starting complaining about the way we did things compared with where the came from. I used to think, if it was so great where you were, why are you here? Now, I get it. I don't want to move back, and I can't believe I am speaking out like this, but when it comes to taxes and resources, New Jersey could learn a thing or two from where I came from.Continued on the next page