Taxes - Back in 2010, I wrote that the largest problem facing Ringwood taxpayers today
is capital improvements to our schools funded through property taxes.
Major repairs are urgently required for new boilers, roofs, and electrical
wiring, among other things, for all of our schools. When our
schools were built thirty or forty years ago, wiring was not designed for our technology rich
libraries and media centers with large numbers of computers and
printers. The Ringwood Board of Education
must come up with plans that will be acceptable to Ringwood Borough
The Ringwood School Budget was voted down for
the 2010-2011 school year. I guess enough Ringwood parents weren't concerned
enough to get out and vote. We lost the budget vote by 79
ballots. For the 2010-2011 school year, Ringwood had to educate students with $2,000,000 less than had
been hoped for when the board started
working on the budget for the 2010-2011 school year.
The governor was successful in getting the
legislature to pass legislation to limit board of education and municipal budget
increases to 2.0% annually starting with the 2011-2012 school year.
This act alone will move New Jersey education from one of the top 2
or 3 states in the U.S. concerning educational achievement to a
significantly lower number.
Today we have significant, stringent
restrictions on educational budgets like S-1701. The basis behind that law was to put tax dollars
back in the pockets of state residents by forcing school districts
to reduce their taxing capabilities and the size of their surpluses
and in this way achieve re-election for (democratic) state government
officials. State residents gladly accepted the school budget
cutbacks, but didn't consider much of what would happen when S-1701
was completely enacted. Residents can now see
the results of S-1701. In conjunction with a $1,000,000 cut in
state aid and a $417,000 cut by Ringwood mayor Ted Taukus and the
borough council for the 2010-2011 school year. All of the squeezing of local school
budgets and surpluses is done and the tax reductions are
over. We taxpayers may have a couple of difficult years ahead
of us as school boards across the state try to escape from this
financial jungle. Our surplus can not exceed 2% of our budget or around $400,000
according to S-1701. This amount of funding can not even
replace a boiler on an emergency basis. By 2019, the Ted
Taukus tax cut has cost Ringwood education a total of $3,753,000.
The impact of Governor Christie and Mayor
Taukus will be felt for many years to come. The cuts they made
were arbitrary and not based on existing or past budgets of the
Ringwood School System. In coming years, the number of
teachers will be reduced and class size will be increased.
Children will get less one-on-one time with their teachers.
Students that easily fall between the cracks will more easily do so
due to less attention from the educators. Achievement and test
scores will drop.
As a Ringwood taxpayer and a past school trustee, I am very concerned about our
current and future critical school tax situation. While Ringwood
residents would like to see the best possible education provided in
Ringwood, we are faced with the dilemma of how much tax can we
personally afford. This fiscal year, 2019-2020, I,
personally, am paying over $3582 for Ringwood district taxes and
$1945 for Lakeland taxes. That's $5528 or almost 57% of my
$9705 tax bill for education. How much more can I afford?
I pay these amounts year after year in spite of the fact that my
wife and I never had children.
It hurts me personally, a 12 year board of
education veteran, to see all of the funding for education squeezed
out of already tight budgets.