As the election nears and as I am running for the West Orange Board of Education I thought it would be good to explain and perhaps discuss what the Board of Eduction should and should not do.
The West Orange Board of Education is chartered by the State of New Jersey to provide educational opportunities for the youth that reside in the about 12 square miles that make up West Orange.
The voters of West Orange elect five people to serve on the school board. The board hire a superintendent to take care of the day to day operation of our schools. The board sets policies and set the budget and the school tax levy. The board approves or votes down the superintends recommendation on the hiring of employees for the schools. The board approves all expenses and contract for the running of schools. The board has the power to settle any litigation it is involved in.
The board members do not hire or fire employees directly other than the superintendent. Board member must comply all state laws and federal mandates. The board must negotiate in good faith with all the union employees at issue.
Currently the board over see a budget of about $140 million of which about $127 million is from property taxes levied on the real estate of business, apartments, and homes in West Orange. The board over see eleven school buildings, a central office, and bus depot, and athletic fields. The board employs about 1,500 people and is responsible for about 7,000 students.
Property value are significantly implicated by the quality of our public schools. Also how well we as a society will be doing in the years to come will to a large extent be determined by how well our schools perform today.
It is a presidential election year and those running are getting most of thought and attention. However, the board of education election at the bottom of the ballot does really matter. Please take the time to review the issues and vote wisely.