I would like to thank John Petrelli and Barbara Fransisco for working together with the members of the board of education to provide a thorough and efficient education for the students of the West Milford School District.At the board meeting Tuesday March 27, the 2012-2013 budget was presented, and board members were asked to vote.Trustees Richards, Richards, Gottlieb, Bailey, Conlon, Schultz and Carter voted yes in support of the budget as it was presented. However, Trustees Foody and Aiello both voted no to the budget.
Over the last few years, I have sat through numerous lengthy board meetings and budget presentations.Something that I was told by a New Jersey School Board Association representative is: if a board member does not support the budget he/she has helped to prepare, he/she has failed in their duty as a board member. How can you not support something you worked to create?
Some trustees have directed questions at Ms. Fransisco and Mr. Petrelli and other administration designed to confuse them.No matter how many times they answer, the answer is never good enough.If a board member has questions or does not understand something, they should provide the business administrator and/or superintendent with these specific questions on paper ahead of time.Then the necessary resources are available and in front of them to answer the question correctly.By throwing questions out on the fly, how can you expect a person to by prepared? This is very unprofessional behavior for adults that are supposed to be working together with a common goal: to better the education of the district's children.
One last comment in respect to an accusation by a board member that the board is "over spending every year" would be, have you taken into consideration the cost of the legal representation needed at every board meeting?The cost to the taxpayer is $450per hour.With the meetings lasting 2 to 4 hours, and many times over 4 hours because of time wasted due to the "on the fly questions," along with frivolous law suits and ethics violations, the cost of legal expenses in our district is outrageous. This is hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be spent on our children's education, but instead is needed to keep other board members safe.
Please join me on April 17 in voting yes to the budget and for three board members who can work together to do what is fiscally, educationally, and ethically responsible for our children:Inga Koeppe, Kevin Babbitt and re-elect Greg Bailey.
Karen Romer Hewitt