I write to express my support for the WW-P School District budget and for one of the candidates for West Windsor’s open seat on the School Board, Michele Kaish.
As a former School Board member I am pleased when a candidate for the Board has an understanding of the working of our schools derived from direct experience. Michele Kaish has 15 years of service as a classroom volunteer, extracurricular supporter and PTA leader. Through active leadership at four of our district schools, she has proven her ability to collaborate with parents, teachers, staff, and administrators to work for the good of our students. I believe this understanding of the dynamics of our schools and hands-on perspective will make her a valued member of the School Board.
There are many reasons I am supporting the budget this year. The easiest is that my school taxes will actually go down. Though the school budget is increasing slightly, the actual amount of taxes to be collected will be less than the current year’s budget.
Second, I believe the education our district provides is a great value at a lower cost than most other area districts. We are generally acknowledged as a top district, but our cost per pupil is lower than all but Hamilton in Mercer County, and in the bottom third for costs when compared with comparable districts.
I’ve been asked if the district could cut even more than it has. Cuts generally mean people, and class sizes are already approaching or are over 25. Administrators have been cut by 30 percent in the past few years. Our student-to-administrator ratio is already the highest in Mercer County and 25 percent over the average. We want consistency across our classrooms and our schools, and we want our teachers to be the best they can be –– each of those requires supervisors and principals to evaluate, inform and support our staff and thus our students.
The third reason I support the budget is that I still have the opportunity to vote on it. Our School Board voted to keep the elections in April and allow the public to vote on the budget, one of only 73 districts in the state to do so.
I encourage everyone who can vote to exercise that right and vote YES for the budget on April 17.
Jacob Drive, West Windsor
Note: The author was on the WW-P School Board from 2001-2004.