04 March 2011

Question for the Governor

I was never a Boy Scout, but I still believe in being prepared.  Even though I had no intention of raising my hand at Governor Chris Christie's town hall meeting in Hillsborough on Wednesday, I had a question prepared anyway.  Hey, you never know.

Governor Christie at the Hillsborough Municipal Complex

*Here's my question:

Governor, I've lived in Hillsborough almost twenty years.  In that time I have found Hillsborough to be a wonderful community full of caring people.  Having been involved in some charitable efforts in town, I have seen firsthand the generosity of our residents.  Whether it's fundraising for national charities, building a playground for disabled kids, or keeping our food pantry stocked, the people of Hillsborough always come through.

Even though Hillsborough is not an affluent community - in fact, our per capita income is right about at the state median - we acknowledge that there are communities needier than ours.  We know that New Jersey's poorer cities need our income tax dollars to fund their schools.  But Hillsborough is also a frugal community - evident in the fact that we have had amazing student achievement in our own schools, while spending far less than other comparable districts.

What we demand to see are results.  Right now, we're just not seeing it.  We send 60% of state aid to thirty urban districts, and it isn't doing any good.  Some of these districts spend two or even three times as much per student as we do in Hillsborough, and it's all for nothing.  If a student is going to drop out of school anyway, they could do it for $10,000 a year as easily as they could for $30,000.

Governor, when are we going to see some return on our investment in the urban districts?

*As always, this blog post represents my personal opinion and not that of the Hillsboroughh Twp. Board of Education.


  1. Greg:

    I was there too! It was a great experience. I assumed you’d be there somewhere in the crowd. I was surprised at how easy it was to get in. Didn’t have to register or answer any questions.

    I actually raised my hand, only once, and Mr. Christie actually picked me. Again, I was totally shocked! I was the one who asked about how we can prevent what’s happening in Wisconsin from happening here which funneled into our dilemma with the Supreme Court of NJ. I could think of a ton of questions to ask him…well some would probably be suggestions. I think the governor has many good ideas but I don’t agree with them all.

    I think I know how he would have answered you question. Part of it would lead back to the Supreme Court I would think. In any event, I think we all can agree that throwing money at a problem doesn’t always fix it.

  2. Hey Mike - I remember your question, a good one.

    There are really two possible answers to my question. The one you alluded to, which involves the Supreme Court, is to just say that we are never going to get the results we want, so we want our money back, i.e. overturn the rulings that provide so much funding to the cities.

    The other answer, which I think Christie may be leaning towards, is to keep trying in the cities, with charter schools or other initiatives, until something works.