Board of Education

DaveSchmidt said:

Aren’t you a mention or two early?

I counted every mention in the linked thread, which easily puts me past the threshold 3. cheese

Glad your kids are doing well!


FYI, Bill _Gifford_ has a really interesting educational & career background.  As a Columbia High School senior he ran for the BOE and part of his platform was preserving Columbia's vo-tech background.  Post college, Gifford worked as a solar installer before transitioning to other roles in the solar sector.

In case anyone here is not on Facebook, I'm copying & pasting a recent Wilson, Eckert, and Gifford Facebook post about this.

CandiDATE with Bill Gifford: When running for the BOE as a Columbia HS Senior, one of Bill's top issues was fighting plans to terminate the district's vocational classes Woodworking and Auto Shop. As was the case then, we need to provide students with choices; not everyone wants to attend college. Especially today as the green energy revolution is estimated to create 5 million jobs many of which will be in construction and manufacturing. This economy requires electricians, construction managers, photovoltaic installers and turbine technicians. Students can begin preparation for these professions with Vocational Training in High School. There's no reason the district shouldn't think big and take advantage of Federal and State grants to build out these programs for our students.While Bill holds college degrees, he actually built his career in the solar industry from the ground up. Starting as an installer (see images

Bill mounted hundreds of residential solar systems around New Jersey working for SolarCity. From there, he worked as a Commercial Energy Consultant for Tesla, and now serves as the Senior Director of Origination at Dynamic Energy developing clean energy projects around the nation.Learn more about Bill in his Village Green statement (link in comments).#CandiDATE with Bill Gifford: When running for the BOE as a Columbia HS Senior, one of Bill's top issues was fighting plans to terminate the district's vocational classes Woodworking and Auto Shop. As was the case then, we need to provide students with choices; not everyone wants to attend college. Especially today as the green energy revolution is estimated to create 5 million jobs many of which will be in construction and manufacturing. This economy requires electricians, construction managers, photovoltaic installers and turbine technicians. Students can begin preparation for these professions with Vocational Training in High School. There's no reason the district shouldn't think big and take advantage of Federal and State grants to build out these programs for our students.While Bill holds college degrees, he actually built his career in the solar industry from the ground up, starting as an installer.

Gifford has been a consistent backer of vo-tech options and understands how these skills are essential in adopting renewables.  

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid0bshgoKoYUmYfs7gEQsDosFzxqSodBvAetq3usP8LKUkNLxAhN85PVE6wUtSamfE3l&id=100085332951312


Jeffrey_Bennett said:

More interesting stuff about Bill _Gifford_

”This content isn’t available right now.”


We should’ve renamed Jefferson after this guy.


DaveSchmidt said:

”This content isn’t available right now.”

Could you try this?  It's a short, humorous biographical video about Bill Gifford.

https://fb.watch/fQJMzBSQXe/


The video made me more curious about the comparison person, Will Meyer, who, I deduced from the video, wears glasses and has not-reddish hair. I found that Meyer is a lawyer who represents special needs students, and worked for NYC Dept of Ed. I haven't otherwise started my BOE research yet, but that doesn't sound too shabby.


I'm willing to accept that every candidate is intelligent, experienced in some related field, and qualified.  Unfortunately I don't know how any of them would deal with issues like paying for bussing, maintenance and programming on a limited budget.  We have to pay our faculty and staff appropriately,inflation is eating in to the budget, and there is a 2% tax cap.  What gives?



sprout said:

The video made me more curious about the comparison person, Will Meyer, who, I deduced from the video, wears glasses and has not-reddish hair. I found that Meyer is a lawyer who represents special needs students, and worked for NYC Dept of Ed. I haven't otherwise started my BOE research yet, but that doesn't sound too shabby.

Ritu worked for NYC DOE.  Will did not.  Both are lawyers.


DanDietrich said:

I'm willing to accept that every candidate is intelligent, experienced in some related field, and qualified.  Unfortunately I don't know how any of them would deal with issues like paying for bussing, maintenance and programming on a limited budget.  We have to pay our faculty and staff appropriately,inflation is eating in to the budget, and there is a 2% tax cap.  What gives?


This is a big issue.  Every year we have candidates that are smart, experienced in their own fields, and well intentioned. These traits do NOT translate into success as a productive member of the BOE.  We have a long list of BOE members that flamed out.


yahooyahoo said:

DanDietrich said:

I'm willing to accept that every candidate is intelligent, experienced in some related field, and qualified.  Unfortunately I don't know how any of them would deal with issues like paying for bussing, maintenance and programming on a limited budget.  We have to pay our faculty and staff appropriately,inflation is eating in to the budget, and there is a 2% tax cap.  What gives?


This is a big issue.  Every year we have candidates that are smart, experienced in their own fields, and well intentioned. These traits do NOT translate into success as a productive member of the BOE.  We have a long list of BOE members that flamed out.

A frustration I have is that candidates run too heavily on their career & family status and are reluctant to talk about their policy views.  This tendency is extreme in Village Green endorsements, where the endorsements are frequently 99-100% biographical, with barely a note on the policy rationale that is the real motivation for the endorsement.  Sometimes Village Green endorsements come down to "Vote for X, he has two children, has volunteered at Y organization, and has chosen to live in our community."  The endorsements are incredibly inconsistent/hypocritical if you follow them year-to-year, eg, I doubt that many people who endorsed Qawi Telesford because he is a CHS grad will do the same for Bill Gifford, although Bill Gifford is just as progressive.

For this campaign, I think Pancholy and Meyer campaigning more heavily on biography than Wilson, Eckert, and Gifford.  Pancholy & Meyer's Village Green statement is 100% biographical and could be written by candidates in any district, whereas Bill Gifford and Regina Eckert were specific SOMSD policy and then biography, including statements showing that they disapprove of the district's incompetence and callousness in transportation and prohibiting transfers.  Nubia Wilson's July statement was biographical, although in 2021 she wrote a great piece on the district's communication failure.  The WEG joint statement also talks about turnover among staff, the achievement gap, Covid problems, and terrible governance by the BOE itself.

On the Pancholy & Meyer webpage they do have policy, but the tone is that the BOE's existing efforts are sufficient.  

Being a "good" board member is a subjective thing, but I don't think lawyers have had any more success than non-lawyers.  If we measure success electorally and by commitment, of the five people recently to serve three terms, Lynne Crawford, Wayne Eastman, Andrea Wren-Hardin, Beth Daugherty, and Johanna Wright, not a single one was a lawyer (although Eastman had a law degree).  


DanDietrich said:

I'm willing to accept that every candidate is intelligent, experienced in some related field, and qualified.  Unfortunately I don't know how any of them would deal with issues like paying for bussing, maintenance and programming on a limited budget.  We have to pay our faculty and staff appropriately,inflation is eating in to the budget, and there is a 2% tax cap.  What gives?


For transportation, it is legal for a BOSE (or electorate) to raise taxes for transportation.  Raising taxes at a higher rate is a downside for taxpayers, although I think higher taxes which are dispersed among everyone is more fair than having families who lose the III lottery and end up at distant-but-sub-2.0 mile schools to have acutely high time & driving costs.  Either way, someone pays for transportation, and I think even-distributed burdens are better than concentrated burdens.  What we have now are concentrated burdens for a society-wide benefit.  

Ronald Taylor and the BOE, for their part, see costs that the district doesn't pay as nonexistent.  Taylor said in 2021 “We have folks who live within the proximity of multiple schools, and they could attend one of three different schools without requiring any type of transportation.”  

Really, without requiring _any_ type of transportation?

We could also offset costs by actually avoiding sending kids to schools between 1.0 and 2.0 miles, because those kids require transportation, but transportation at that distance is ineligible for state aid.  By contrast, if we sent kids to schools over 2.0 miles away, state transportation aid would cover about half of the cost.

I think the Taylor-Maini system is a bad one because it creates a lot of unnecessary hardship because it is based on involuntary assignment, but it is also bad budgetarily because it places so many kids at 1.0-2.0 mile schools whom we morally should provide transportation to, even if state law doesn't require it.


Steve said:

sprout said:

The video made me more curious about the comparison person, Will Meyer, who, I deduced from the video, wears glasses and has not-reddish hair. I found that Meyer is a lawyer who represents special needs students, and worked for NYC Dept of Ed. I haven't otherwise started my BOE research yet, but that doesn't sound too shabby.

Ritu worked for NYC DOE.  Will did not.  Both are lawyers.

@Steve -- Thank you for that correction. I skimmed their page too quickly.


sprout said:

@Steve -- Thank you for that correction. I skimmed their page too quickly.

You're welcome.  


Jeffrey_Bennett said:

I think the Taylor-Maini system is a bad one because it creates a lot of unnecessary practice hardship because it is based on involuntary assignment, but it is also bad budgetarily because it places so many kids at 1.0-2.0 mile schools whom we morally should provide transportation to, even if state law doesn't require it.

We should also morally provide transportation to out of district kids (eta: i.e., resident kids attending out of district) as we had been doing prior to this guy getting here.  Aside from the legal requirement.  By the way, coming out of Covid, the out of district pop has exploded, and for good reason.  That’s $1000 a head reimbursement obligation annually, and growing.  And that $1,000 statutory cap will be increased soon.   Very soon.


BarneyGumble said:

Jeffrey_Bennett said:

I think the Taylor-Maini system is a bad one because it creates a lot of unnecessary practice hardship because it is based on involuntary assignment, but it is also bad budgetarily because it places so many kids at 1.0-2.0 mile schools whom we morally should provide transportation to, even if state law doesn't require it.

We should also morally provide transportation to out of district kids (eta: i.e., resident kids attending out of district) as we had been doing prior to this guy getting here.  Aside from the legal requirement.  By the way, coming out of Covid, the out of district pop has exploded, and for good reason.  That’s $1000 a head reimbursement obligation annually, and growing.  And that $1,000 statutory cap will be increased soon.   Very soon.

I think we should be careful about terminology -- students in out-of-district placements (e.g. Special Education students at specialized schools) do, and must, be provided transportation as part of their placement. 

I assume you are discussing the legally mandated provision of transportation or payment in lieu of transportation to students choosing to attend private schools.


susan1014 said:

BarneyGumble said:

Jeffrey_Bennett said:

I think the Taylor-Maini system is a bad one because it creates a lot of unnecessary practice hardship because it is based on involuntary assignment, but it is also bad budgetarily because it places so many kids at 1.0-2.0 mile schools whom we morally should provide transportation to, even if state law doesn't require it.

We should also morally provide transportation to out of district kids (eta: i.e., resident kids attending out of district) as we had been doing prior to this guy getting here.  Aside from the legal requirement.  By the way, coming out of Covid, the out of district pop has exploded, and for good reason.  That’s $1000 a head reimbursement obligation annually, and growing.  And that $1,000 statutory cap will be increased soon.   Very soon.

I think we should be careful about terminology -- students in out-of-district placements (e.g. Special Education students at specialized schools) do, and must, be provided transportation as part of their placement. 

I assume you are discussing the legally mandated provision of transportation or payment in lieu of transportation to students choosing to attend private schools.

I personally do not believe that there is any moral obligation whatsoever in cases where people choose to send their (non-special-needs) children to private school. We should be using taxpayer funds for public schools or for alternatives that are needed for those with special needs, not for those who just make a different choice.


sac said:

I personally do not believe that there is any moral obligation whatsoever in cases where people choose to send their (non-special-needs) children to private school. We should be using taxpayer funds for public schools or for alternatives that are needed for those with special needs, not for those who just make a different choice.

Maybe the school portion of property taxes can be refunded to parents who choose to send children out of district while enrolled out of district? 


the18thletter said:

sac said:

I personally do not believe that there is any moral obligation whatsoever in cases where people choose to send their (non-special-needs) children to private school. We should be using taxpayer funds for public schools or for alternatives that are needed for those with special needs, not for those who just make a different choice.

Maybe the school portion of property taxes can be refunded to parents who choose to send children out of district while enrolled out of district? 

It doesn't work that way, just as the fire department portion of your taxes is not refunded if your house doesn't catch fire or any other service that you don't end up using.


the18thletter said:

sac said:

I personally do not believe that there is any moral obligation whatsoever in cases where people choose to send their (non-special-needs) children to private school. We should be using taxpayer funds for public schools or for alternatives that are needed for those with special needs, not for those who just make a different choice.

Maybe the school portion of property taxes can be refunded to parents who choose to send children out of district while enrolled out of district? 

Or, if you want low taxes, you could move just down the road. E.g., in Newark, this $517k house (4bd 2 ba), has taxes under $7k:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/49-51-Midland-Pl-Newark-NJ-07106/38714740_zpid/?mmlb=g,16


Newark actually has a higher tax rate than we do.  They just pay less because of valuation.


DanDietrich said:

Newark actually has a higher tax rate than we do.  They just pay less because of valuation.

FYI...Newark's tax rate has come down by a lot.  It's now equal to SO and Maplewood's.

https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/lpt/gtr/2021taxrates.pdf


Thanks.  I didn't know that. Equal is good.



sprout said:

the18thletter said:

sac said:

I personally do not believe that there is any moral obligation whatsoever in cases where people choose to send their (non-special-needs) children to private school. We should be using taxpayer funds for public schools or for alternatives that are needed for those with special needs, not for those who just make a different choice.

Maybe the school portion of property taxes can be refunded to parents who choose to send children out of district while enrolled out of district? 

Or, if you want low taxes, you could move just down the road. E.g., in Newark, this $517k house (4bd 2 ba), has taxes under $7k:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/49-51-Midland-Pl-Newark-NJ-07106/38714740_zpid/?mmlb=g,16

Or if you want real “diversity” you can move to Union.


sac said:

It doesn't work that way, just as the fire department portion of your taxes is not refunded if your house doesn't catch fire or any other service that you don't end up using.

It doesn't work that way, but there's no reason it couldn't work that way.  Funding for fire departments is a necessary local risk mitigation -- if your house catches on fire and spreads to my house, there's no time to wait for administrators to get the paperwork in order to put out the fire (and neighboring fire departments will work together for this same reason).

Unless you view education as babysitting (which to be fair, is how many people do view it), I don't think there's an argument that the same kind of localized risk pooling is necessary.  If your son doesn't learn Calculus, my house doesn't catch on fire.  Maybe I want your son to learn Calculus and I think it would make him a better person, but then we live in a democratic country where people are free to decide for themselves what they're going to study.

I'm only 50% serious, and I've been very happy with Millburn schools, but I think it's worth considering alternate ways to structure education with modern technology (always with the goal of maximizing the realized potential of every kid).

We may not agree on this, but I think a lot of people have considered these questions after two years of lockdown, and possibly seeing their children thrive in ways they never had before (and of course, some kids were worse off, and they shouldn't have to learn that way either).


kmt said:

Unless you view education as babysitting (which to be fair, is how many people do view it), I don't think there's an argument that the same kind of localized risk pooling is necessary.

Not babysitting. Not, given finite resources, maximizing the potential of every kid, either. There’s another view, with a corresponding argument: Public funding of education, including by parents who opt out their own children, pools the risk of an undereducated society. You never know how far those embers will fly.

The two of us settled this and every other debate in the universe years ago, though, so I’m not even 50 percent serious about repeating ourselves.


sac said:

It doesn't work that way, just as the fire department portion of your taxes is not refunded if your house doesn't catch fire or any other service that you don't end up using.

Lol, I know it doesn't work that way. It was a suggestion since there was such backlash to the transportation payments being made. It wasn't for every resident of the township who doesn't have a school age child only the families with school age children who are schooled outside the district. Seems fair to me and I no l9nger have school age children in the district. 


the18thletter said:

sac said:

It doesn't work that way, just as the fire department portion of your taxes is not refunded if your house doesn't catch fire or any other service that you don't end up using.

Lol, I know it doesn't work that way. It was a suggestion since there was such backlash to the transportation payments being made. It wasn't for every resident of the township who doesn't have a school age child only the families with school age children who are schooled outside the district. Seems fair to me and I no l9nger have school age children in the district. 

It doesn't work that way and it SHOULDN'T.  I no longer have children in the district, and haven't for almost a decade, so I no longer "use" the service in that sense.  But it is important to me and should be important to everyone to fulfill every student's right to a good education and siphoning money away from the public school budget to satisfy parents who choose to go elsewhere does not help in that effort. 


DaveSchmidt said:

The two of us settled this and every other debate in the universe years ago, though, so I’m not even 50 percent serious about repeating ourselves.

Do I know you?


sac said:

It doesn't work that way and it SHOULDN'T.  I no longer have children in the district, and haven't for almost a decade, so I no longer "use" the service in that sense.  But it is important to me and should be important to everyone to fulfill every student's right to a good education and siphoning money away from the public school budget to satisfy parents who choose to go elsewhere does not help in that effort. 

But is it fair to make somebody pay for a system that has failed their kids?  How else will failing schools be held accountable?

Like, all of these kids I've heard about at MHS who are excluded from classes because they're not white, why should their parents have to pay for a racist system?  Isn't forcing those parents to pay into the M/SO schools actually racist?


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