While other districts are taking a big hit regarding state aid, Mountain Lakes is receiving absolutely none. In 2009-2010, Mountain Lakes received $951,058 in state aid, for 2010-2011: $0. Clearly, dealing with this cut will be no easy task, however, the failed budget last year may have left the community well prepared. From one angle, the failed budget was actually helpful; without it, the board would be quite unprepared for this year’s budget cuts.
Photo courtesy of Mountaineer Staff
The most disappointing part about budget cuts is the loss of talented, hard working, and well loved teachers and staff. However, with employees making up 74% of all costs, cuts are inevitable. Mountain Lakes High School is losing 1 science teacher, .8 home economics teachers, .4 math teachers, and .4 Latin teachers. Cuts less than 1 mean the teachers in that area will be teaching fewer periods of the subject, or if the teacher is dually certified, teach another area.
The biggest effect on Mountain Lakes High School students will be the loss of admired teachers and courses. Some courses next year might be online. As of now, it is possible that Latin 3 and 4 will be an online option next year. Since few students enroll in higher level Latin classes, it would save more money to put these courses online. This is also the case with AP Art History. However, while it does save money, it might also put students at a disadvantage. Without the one-on-one instruction and guidance from a teacher, students would not have the same in-depth experience as an in-classroom course. Nevertheless, there are ways to ensure proper direction, such as meeting with a teacher during an off period, or meeting for review sessions after school before tests.
The budget cuts also mean a homeowner tax increase of 2.465%. While this amount isn’t too alarming- and certainly less than neighboring towns- tax increases are never enjoyable.
While many community members may not realize the effort and time put into making the budget cuts as tolerable as possible, the Mountain Lakes Board of Education deserves your support. It’s a difficult task, but a necessary one. Even Chris Christie has a tough task at hand. When in debt, the only way to get out is to cut spending and save. There is no other option. So, while budget cuts are frustrating, limiting, and unfortunate, they are necessary. I would like to urge the residents of Mountain Lakes to learn more about the budget and its effect on our schools, and to vote on April 20th.