"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Jersey Taxpayer Hell Story #1,835,412

Central Regional is a 7-12 school district located in central New Jersey serving the municipalities of Berkeley Township, Island Heights, Ocean Gate, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Total student population is about 2,400.

This is how property tax relief through school consolidation has worked out for those communities:

When Central Regional was created, the towns agreed that it would be funded on pupil enrollment, or per-pupil funding. But when the Legislature revised the school-funding laws in 1975 requiring the conversion of all regional district tax levies to be apportioned based on the equalized value of real estate, it evolved to the point where Seaside Park was paying $51,500 per pupil during the 2005-2006 school year while the other towns in the district paid an average of $10,000 or less per pupil.
This is exactly why Democrats are pushing for the consolidation of schools into 21 county school districts. Their plan offers no actual savings, but would ratchet-up property taxes for some and produce “property tax relief” for others. The county plan would consolidate the political power of the purse into the hands of 21 Governor appointed county school superintendents. The first step was taken with the introduction of two bills in the state’s legislature - A-4 and S-10.

The state’s income tax was created in 1975 to provide “property tax relief” through state aid to school districts. You can see how well school consolidation and the state’s income tax have worked out for the people of Seaside Park, Seaside Heights and Island Heights - communities that voted overwhelmingly to break from Central Regional. These taxpayers are trapped.

The state forced Seaside Park taxpayers to bear a disproportionate portion of the burden to educate the students of the district. One count claims that by virtue of the number of Berkeley's registered voters — 30,975 — Berkeley has "absolute power to block the attempts of any of the other constituent districts seeking withdrawal from, or dissolution of, Central Regional, as well as the power to block any attempt to change the apportionment method."
As a last resort, the people of Seaside Park are asking a Superior Court judge “to compel state Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy to dissolve the Central Regional School District, permit Seaside Park to withdraw from it or change the district's funding formula”.

"It's unfortunate that they are pursuing it after it was voted down," said Central Regional School District Superintendent David Trethaway.
“The people have spoken – make the other guy pay!” Tyranny of the majority in action. Seaside Park property taxpayers are shelling out $51,500 per student while another town in the same school distinct pays only $5,500 per pupil. Care to guess which one? We’ll give you a hint.

Berkeley Mayor Jason J. Varano said, “I feel they're just wasting the school administration's time and money when they are supposed to be concentrating on providing our students with the best education possible."
Spending someone else’s money - isn’t it great!

We wish the taxpayers luck with their lawsuit, but history has shown New Jersey’s courts to have a decidedly anti-taxpayer bias. The only way out of this taxpayer hell is to move.

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At 8:21 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Great post! I posted a link to it from Red Generation.

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I yearn for the day when the Feds take over this state's finances. Makes me wonder if Corzine ever took a course on bookeeping.


At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only way out of this taxpayer hell is to move."

I hear Nashville is wonderful this time of year.


At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

This is certainly not the only regional district with this problem.

I wrote about Lower Cape May Regional a year ago.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We regionalized about nine years ago, it has been a nightmare ever since! The Great Meadows Regional School District was a big big mistake!

Every budget that our town votes down the other town approves. Also, there are only nine members on the school board, they have 5 votes and we have 4, we are held at their mercy.

On top everything else, their municipal tax rate is lower than ours! We are getting a hosing all the way around.

Our town has been trying to de- regionalize for the past three years. Sadly, it looks like it will never happen.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad thing about this is that Berkeley has voted down the regional budget 25 times in the last 27 years. That is 25 defeated budgets due to their overwhelming voter base. Berkeley also holds 5 of the 9 BOE positions. They want the smaller towns to subsidize them but are unwilling to provide an adequate education or work with the smaller districts.

Current rankings place 73 percent of NJ high schools ahead of Central Regional. IH, one of the smaller sending districts, sends 2/3(!) of their students to alternate schools because of the inadequate education provided by Central. HOW SAD! This is essentially a double tax for these parents.

BTW. You forgot about some of the towns in LBI which are paying in excess of 120K / Student to attend Southern Regional.

The fact is you loose control of your educational systems once you regionalize if you are a smaller district. If your vision for your children’s education is not similar to those in the majority-sending district, you are in big trouble. I am certain that a politically appointed county superintendent will not rectify this.

Good luck to Seaside Park in their lawsuit to rectify this inequity.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I am almost ready to retire, I can see no alternative to moving out of this terribly administered and overtaxed state. Most of my soon to be retired friends are in a similar state of mind. It's too bad, I liked it here years ago.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

It won't truly have success, I consider this way.
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At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Allan said...

It will not succeed in reality, that's exactly what I think.
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