High Point school board has gone rogue with 14% tax increase

| 01 Feb 2021 | 02:58

To the Editor:

Reeking with the lack of fiscal responsibility, coupled with poor planning, during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the High Point Board of Education has gone rogue passing an insane 14% tax increase on the taxpayers of the five sending districts.

Originally presented by High Point Superintendent Scott Ripley at a Wantage Committee meeting on May 28, 2020, the High Point Board of Education announced use of a controversial process called “banked cap” (money “banked” by districts by not using the entitled 2% yearly allowable for rainy day spending). His reasoning was repairs to the “55-year-old building.”

At the Wantage Township Reorganization meeting of Jan. 7, 2021, discussion ensued concerning the now united five High Point High School sending districts in an agreement to move school board elections to April, putting school budgets on referendum and allowing taxpayers to hold school boards accountable. Mr. Wayne Dunn appeared at this meeting revealing he’s the newly named High Point Board of Education president. Although stating he was appearing as a Wantage “taxpayer,” Mr. Dunn didn’t appear to act as just a taxpayer, touting his election vote totals vs. newly elected Committeeman Jon Morris, comparing “fiduciary judgement,” and questioning the township’s desire for accountability.

Our board of educations have the responsibility of providing quality education for our children, but they’re also charged with protecting the taxpayer and how education tax dollars are spent. The High Point board had the opportunity to protect taxpayers with what’s known as the bond process, allowing repair costs not covered by that “banked cap” be paid over a number of years, keeping taxes to a minimum increase.

I would like to remind Mr. Dunn of his words at that May 28, 2020, meeting when asked why the bond option was not utilized: “Mr. Dunn stated he voted for going out to bond for High Point repairs and also it would’ve helped ease the tax increase.” That budget passed unanimously, so, obviously Mr. Dunn did not vote for the bond when it counted the most, on the record protecting the taxpayers he was elected to represent.

I would like to thank the five municipalities, Wantage, Sussex, Frankford, Lafayette, and Branchville, for looking out for the taxpayer and looking for accountability as to how our tax dollars are spent.

Kathleen Gorman

Wantage Township