Refuting school budget numbers with new calculations

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:16

    We are left to wonder as to why school administrators and/or school boards present inaccurate information and/or information in a useless format to us residents, taxpayers and voters? Do they really believe that we are all that stupid? I believe that we found at least part of S-W Regional’s problems during their PowerPoint presentation on their proposed 2009-10 budget. If I wrote the numbers down correctly, they showed Wantage’s 2008 tax rate for the S-W Regional as being 0.8831 and Sussex Borough’s as being 1.6604; neither of which appear to be correct. How could S-W Regional’s administrators get something as simple as copying two numbers wrong? My personal Wantage 2008 final tax bill contained a tax rate of 0.870, not 0.8831. Therefore, based on their proposed 2009 tax rate of 0.8737 (I rounded it to 0,874) the owner of the average residential property in Wantage (2008 - $320,746) will see a tax increase of $12.83, not the stated tax decrease of $30.32, a difference of $43.15. I raised this issue when the S-W budget hearing was opened to comments from the public. We understand that Sussex Borough’s 2008 tax rate was 1.665, therefore the proposed tax rate of 1.6742 (I rounded it to 1.674) would calculate into a tax increase of $10.42 for the owner of the average residential property in Sussex Borough (2008 - $115,822) and not the stated $15.97 increase. A reduction of $5.55. How does that saying go? “Garbage in, garbage out.”? A couple of years ago I attended the public schools in Belleville, NJ, and I believe that I obtained a rather good education. A couple of my former language and history teachers may disagree. I don’t remember actually counting, but if my memory serves me correctly, a number of my classes probably contained over 40 students in them. But I don’t favor the obvious extravagant spending and waste of our tax dollars in the name of “education.” What we need is the best possible educational system at the lowest possible cost to us taxpayers. Why should taxpayers, who are having a hard time affording a Chevrolet in which to drive to work, be forced to pay for a Rolls Royce “educational” system? Why should the school administrators, teachers and other staff be immune from the effects of the economic crisis that is destroying the rest of us taxpayers? William H. Gettler, President, Wantage Township Taxpayers Association