Head back to school, not to courts

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To the editor:

Cape May’s decision to dissolve or leave our Lower Cape May Regional High School District may be good for some lawyers, but it’s bad for our school and worse for our students.

As both Cape May and Lower Township bulk up their legal budgets for the long and costly slog through the Department of Education and into the courts, a cloud hangs over our regional school, and its ability to budget. Before we proceed any further down this road, I appeal to Deputy Mayor Jack Wichterman, Cape May City Council and Cape May voters: Let’s not go to court, let’s go back to school.

Cape May does not really want to dissolve our school, or hurt our students. But Cape May has been listening to a lawyer for hire who says the current funding formula, based on property valuations, is not “fair.” The same lawyer advises Cape May to pursue a long legal strategy to “explore more equitable alternatives.”

In our state, each and every child, regardless of Zip Code, has a right to a good education. That’s why the state has chosen property valuations as the fair way to fund education (and many other vital municipal, county and state services).

As a 20-year local taxpayer now paying over $3,000 a year in school taxes (even though my wife and I don’t have children), I can understand why some might prefer a formula based on the number of children they have.

But it only took a tour of our local schools for me to see the amazing deal I was getting for my tax money. I saw classes, from botany to boat building, led by passionate teachers desiring for their students to learn and find their purpose in life. One only has to see our schools (and imagine our community without them) to realize the priceless return on our investment.

So I invite Cape May voters to join our two councils for a tour of our regional school with tax bills in hand. Let’s then ask ourselves: Isn’t this a great deal for all of us? Isn’t our arrangement better than each town building its own schools? Finally, isn’t it fair that those of us with means and without children should fund the blessing of education for all our children?

Please, let’s not go to court; let’s go back to school!

Norris Clark
Lower Township Deputy Mayor

(Editor’s note: This was sent as an open letter to Cape May voters.)

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