To the editor:
Thirty-five concerned Brigantine teachers, parents and taxpayers attended the recent standing-room-only Brigantine school board meeting. Most expressed frustration and dismay at the board’s repeated 24-month failure to perform its duty to address new teacher contracts.
New contracts for dedicated teachers are long overdue. Many Brigantine teachers continue to receive the same effective pay they did five years ago, unlike other Brigantine employees such as policemen and firemen, many of whom have received substantial pay increases.
In light of a significantly decreased student population from prekindergarten through eighth grade, at this board meeting, several residents, who fund the school expenses through taxes, once again urged the school board to address their proposal to reduce the school’s increasing operating costs by consolidating the cavernous school complex with its two school systems into a single system under one principal and staff. Previously, when this consolidation proposal was discussed with Phil Guenther, mayor of Brigantine for the past 25 years, and with the entire school board he appointed personally, this and other cost-reduction suggestions have been consistently ignored.
Based on the recent 20 percent reduction in the value of Brigantine land and homes, the decrease in ratables, and the increase in failed businesses and home foreclosures, Brigantine is no longer able to pay its bills and complete its necessary new projects without annually borrowing money (“bonding”).
Brigantine public officials in good conscience can no longer ignore or reject with impunity fiscally sound suggestions that reduce operating expenses without eventually triggering resident outcries of nonfeasance, or worse, of misfeasance.