Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Graduation The Happiest Day In Glen Ridge

From the Star Ledger:

Moving day follows kids' graduation day in one high-tax town
BY PHILIP READ

It was a proud moment. Eva Fenning's triplets were graduating from top-ranked Glen Ridge High School. On the lawn of their Ridgewood Avenue home stood the traditional congratulatory sign with the triplets' names: Brad, Blane, Brittany.

But just a few feet away was a telltale sign of what lay ahead: "For Sale."

In tax-stressed towns such as Glen Ridge, families are grabbing for a real-estate listing as soon as their youngest slip out of cap and gown. Many families are counting on the savings in property taxes to fund college tuition bills.

"My friends never believed me" when she said she'd be leaving town, Fenning recalls, but the move translates into huge savings. How much each year? "Only $13,000," she says tongue-in-cheek.

The postgraduation home sales extend to neighboring Montclair, where head-craning drivers can spot blue-and-white ribbons -- the colors of Montclair High's Mounties -- tied to trees just feet from "For Sale" signs.

In Glen Ridge, which a few years ago was top-ranked not just for its schools but for "tax trauma," according to a 2002 Star-Ledger analysis of New Jersey towns, the evidence is everywhere.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many folks have just had enough.

7/18/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glen ridge -- where your kids can not just get a top notch education, but get raped in the bargain !!

7/18/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

A lot of this has to do with the spiraling cost of paying salaries and benefits to our public sector employees. Public employees get benefits that those of us in the private sector could never dream of.

From today’s Bergen Record:

Workers' health care causing pain
http://tinyurl.com/jdeg7
(Part 3 of a 6 part series)

…But in New Jersey's public sector, where nearly 78,000 employees of the state government and state college system enjoy free medical coverage for themselves and their families, things are moving at a much slower pace, if at all. Winning even the smallest concessions during contract negotiations is an uphill battle because of strong unions, tough bargaining rules and rigid state guidelines about employee contributions.

"I've said it in negotiations," said Jeff DeSimone, a Ridgefield Board of Education member. "In the real business world, a businessman couldn't stay in business paying these types of benefits."

7/18/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

seriously what are they going to do about the ridiculously high taxes in this state? 50x100 plots in a number of decent towns carry $8-$9k annual property taxes. it's just insane.

7/18/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corzine could shut down the government,** surely he could abrogate state regulations and statutes governing benefits negotiations with public employees. Hell, GM moved the goal posts, making workers tote more of the co-pay burden, etc. And we all know what Engine Charley Wilson said about GM...



**I know it wasn't Corzine alone; he was implementing a formerly obscure statute--and in a very literal-minded way, at that.

7/18/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger delford said...

Also although some people will not admit it, the cost of special ed is incredible. I suggest people go to a BOE meeting and look at the numbers spent on special ed, the numbers are unvelieveable,and thses small towns are getting crushed.

For instance the special ed budget in my town is 50% of the total for the regular budget.

Regular school budget 6,000,000. special ed budget 3,000,000. Total school budget 9,000,000.

7/18/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

seriously what are they going to do about the ridiculously high taxes in this state?

Nothing.
The solution is regionalization (sharing services) and bringing public sector salaries and benefits back into line with the real world. Regionalization will also go a long way to help stop corruption, since there will be fewer hands in the pie, which will allow for better oversight.

No one has the cojones to push this agenda, so nothing will change. It’s that simple.

At best, we will just see a shell game where we raise other taxes to give modest property tax breaks.

7/18/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

Also although some people will not admit it, the cost of special ed is incredible.

Perhaps the most perfect opportunity for sharing services. Does every little municipality really need its own special ed infrastructure, with all the associated expenses?

In the real world, this would be outsourced to a firm that specializes in special ed and could do it better and more efficiently than you could do it internally.

In most states where education is run at the county level, you would have a handful of schools around the county that specialize in special ed. By specializing, you could have excellent programs at a fraction of the cost on a per student basis.

7/18/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Regionalization will also go a long way to help stop corruption, since there will be fewer hands in the pie, which will allow for better oversight. "

I disagree. I think with a only a few hands playing the game there's MORE opportunity for corruption. There's also more temptation b/c the $$ would be greater. Look at the large districts that are now state-run. The corruption is much greater in Newark/Paterson than in a more locally run district.

I think some regionalization is needed, but not the county-wide or state-wide type. A sharing of services (Child Study Teams, ordering procedures, Superintendents) would save $ without damaging "local control."

Special Ed. *is* a huge amount of $. Most districts do try to keep the students within their system as it could cost oodles more to send them out. The Sp.Ed. laws (least restrictive environment, etc) make $ saving, regionalizing, "sp.ed. schools" incredibly difficult.

7/18/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Public employees get benefits that those of us in the private sector could never dream of."

NOW they are getting close. It wasn't always that way, but now people care b/c they aren't getting their perks as often.

7/18/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



In Glen Ridge (GR) you can send your kids to public school. However, if you live in Montclair, you will have to send your kids to private school AND pay the high taxes--about 10%-15%less than GR.

Also, there is a waiting list of people lookng to purchase in the $600K - $900K price range--it's been this way for years. So if you have children, this sounds like a Best Buy. The alternative is to send your kid to some sub-standard, crack-pot school system where your kids will learn to address others with a "Yo Yo," but then again, Pres, Bush went to Yale.

Yo Yo Momma

7/18/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morris Plains, Cedar Knowles, Morris Twnshp, and several other districts in the area do outsource their special ed to a private-run school (PG Chambers School). It's cheaper because they pay teachers and aides WAY LESS than the public systems. I know because my wife works there. She had to take a pay cut coming from a national, publically traded DAYCARE company. (Although the working conditions and focus on the kids are lightyears better.)

7/19/2006 03:55:00 PM  

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