Jamesburg School Budget Story 2005

      Once again it is April and that only means one thing - time to vote in the annual school board elections and budget. I cannot emphasize again how important it is participate in the voting process. It is our civic responsibility as citizens of the United States of America to regularly partake in the voting process. This year's election is April 19, 2005 from 3:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at the Jamesburg Borough Hall, 131 Perrineville Road. In this editorial I will stress the most important aspects of this year's budget and its cost, yet I am not bluntly saying how to vote, yet most readers will figure it out. The observations in this article are based on factual information at the time of publishing. Whether you do agree or disagree on this year's budget and what I have said, do vote. It is the most you can do for Jamesburg.

      This year the Jamesburg Public School District's budget restores funding for after school activities, middle school sports teams (soccer and basketball), and one librarian to share between schools. This budget also provides funding for sewer and lawn maintenance, which has been covered by the Borough of Jamesburg for two years. New to this budget are supplies for testing first graders, a part time special education aide, and a test support teacher for grades three and four.

      Now, you may wonder what the grand total for all this is...drumroll please...$10,923,388.00. This may seem like a lot for such a small district, but as constituents of Jamesburg, we must remember that prices increase as the years go on. Keep in mind that while our budgets continually fail each year, Jamesburg falls behind in technology, teaching styles, student preparation, and maintenance, while other school districts continue to receive more teachers, new supplies, and better facilities. This is not what Jamesburg represents. Jamesburg is a town steeped in educational excellence despite budget cuts through the years. Teachers have become creative at enriching students' lives while keeping the price down. Nevertheless, there comes a time when the current amounts spent on supplies, projects, and programs must increase, further squeezing the pocketbook of our school district, thus reducing the quality of education.

      Jamesburg's administration and Board of Education have worked dilligently for months to create a budget that is sound and managable for borough residents. The items being reinstated this year are not luxuries. All students should have the privilege and opportunity to participate in after school activities and sports programs, which keeps children active and out of the streets after school. Furthermore, rehiring a librarian gives students a chance to appropriately access and utilize two beautiful school media centers, learn important skills in researching, and enjoy reading. In the age of the Internet, it is important to teach young children the value of reading a book and researching material in reference books because more and more children are relying on the Internet for their only sources of information, which sometimes can be beneficial, but many times unreliable. These are all basic programs in other school districts and Jamesburg's schoolchildren should not be denied access to them.

      During last year's election, less than 300 voters participated out of an approximately 2,500 electorate. At most that's only 12% of Jamesburg's eligible voters! There is no excuse for not voting. If you know you in advance that cannot make it to the polls this year, by all means fill out an absentee ballot. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of letting the true voice of Jamesburg be heard, not just a select 300. Every year the future of Jamesburg's schools rest upon the voters.

      For more information about this year's budget makeup, visit http://www.jamesburg.org/dnewsletter01.html.

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