Editor's Note: The following was written by former Board of Education member Joseph Lopez.
School Board President Mary Shaughnessy stated in regards to the 2011-2012 zero percent tax increase that, "It's kind of left our budget in tatters."
It is important to remind our Bloomfield residents that Shaughnessy has forgotten that she is on the record voting "yes" for that budget. So, Shaughnessy can bury her head in the sand so as not to assume any responsibility, but she can't hide.
That is not leadership; that is cowardice.
The 2012-13 school budget was led by Shaughnessy, but I was the only board member who voted against it for several reasons.
First, I thought the tax hikes were draining the pockets of an already struggling middle class in our township.
Second, 11 teaching positions were being eliminated.
And lastly, the board made deals that did not bring any immediate savings to the taxpayers.
Even though the state gave more money to our school district, Shaughnessy ended the year nearly $1 million dollars less than in 2011 when I was president of the board.
But let's talk a little about the supporters of Shaughnessy, who I believe is a Republican dressed in Democrat's clothing.
Shane Berger, Maribel Perez, Katherine Bumpus and Kent Weisert are all district leaders for the Republican County Committee. And I'm referring to the infamous Sue Ann Penna, who was trounced when she ran for councilwoman for the Republican Party.
Penna just wrote what I consider a shallow article regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., giving the impression that we, the American people, are powerless when it comes to protecting our children and that we should get on our knees and accept such tragedy as a way of life!
Also, her article during this holiday season only mentions Christmas and excludes other holidays, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, oblivious to the growing diversity in our community.
However, we now know given the recent presidential election that the Republicans (not all) have problems being inclusive, especially when it comes to Hispanics, African Americans and women!
That said, you will never hear Penna make any mention of her Republican cronies on the school board and their tax hikes.
And James Wollner, who lost abysmally running for councilman for the Republican Party on a platform against taxes, said that he was thankful for the end of my regime.
Here is a little of what I did while I served one term in office:
- Renovated the main entrance of the historical building of Bloomfield High School which was ready for our townships Bicentennial celebration
- Cut $7 million from the budget
- Renovated Foley Field, which I believe inspired our varsity football team to make the state finals
- Cut over half a million dollars from an administrative bureaucracy, recognizing a growing Hispanic community we began to provide all literature in English and Spanish
- Invested more in special education so we can have our children stay in our community and save the district money
- Reduced classroom size
- Didn't raise taxes in 2011-12.
If you ask me, that sounds like a fiscally responsible and conservative platform. The only problem for them is this,: I'm a Democrat and I do what I say!
So what you have from these Republicans is all bark and no bite! As Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."