Citizens Should Vote On $40 Million County School

Citizens Should Vote On $40 Million County School

?By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
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??? Phil Guenther, is the Republican mayor of Brigantine and the $131,000 per year superintendent of the “Vocational School District” picked by Republican County Executive Dennis Levinson, and a 7-2 Republican majority “freeholder” council.
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??? The Vocational School District also has a $119,000 business administrator, a $130,000 principal, a $124,000 assistant principal, and a $100,455 affirmative action officer/supervisor of instruction.
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??? Atlantic County also runs a “Special Services School District” with its own $142,000 superintendent, a business administrator, and a principal and two assistant principals getting more than $100,000.
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??? One month ago,? Phil Guenther announced plans to build a new $40 million school.?? That comes to $800,000 each, for 50 new classrooms that are “needed”.?? That is because a new state of the art performing arts center, cafeteria, gymnasium, and athletic fields are also “needed”.
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??? County property taxes would pay “only” $24 million.?? New state tax hikes would pay the other $16 million (plus hundreds of millions more on projects all over NJ).?? And we would need new gimmicks to add to our current $113 billion of state debt, without voter approval as required by our NJ Constitution.
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??? At first, Atlantic County’s officials wanted a non-binding referendum before going for this project.
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??? But then came Roy Foster, President of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council for Atlantic and Cape May County.?? Last April, Foster marched against the “anti-labor” policies of Republican President Bush.?? But last November, Foster helped Republicans take control of local government in Mays Landing, and probably helped persuade Democrat Freeholder Frank Giordano, also of Mays Landing, to switch to Republican.?? A few years ago, Republican County Executive Dennis Levinson appointed Foster to both the Atlantic County Improvement Authority and the Vocational School District.
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??? Right now, the county freeholders are getting a lot of heat to approve $40 million for the new vocational school without any vote of the people.?? I think most of that heat is coming from Roy Foster’s union people.
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??? Here is why I think you should demand a referendum on this important issue.??
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??? 1.?? This project being pushed by a handful of insiders who will make big bucks from this project.?? But most other high school educators are not on board.?? Ask yourself, “Why?”
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??? 2.?? It seems that the vocational schools in Atlantic and Cape May counties are rejecting the kids most in need of vocational training – and forcing them into expensive alternative school “academies” like the Eagle Academy in EHT or the Viking Academy in Atlantic City.?? The proposed project would make Atlantic County’s vocational high school more, not less, elitist.
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??? 3.? A lot can happen in the 30 years it will take to pay for this project.?? If the price of gas keeps going up, will it make sense to bus hundreds of students to and from Mays Landing?
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??? 4.? Why is the state paying $16 million??? Is this a bribe, so Atlantic County legislators will support even more state borrowing without public votes as required by our NJ Constitution?
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??? 5. Why should poor people be taxed out of their homes to build lavish performing arts centers, cafeterias, lounges, and sports facilities??? Why not prepare high school students for the real world?
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??? 6.? The County has other pressing needs.?? Atlantic Cape Community College “needs” $15 million in upgrades, our court house and jail “need” expensive improvements as do dozens of roads, bridges, and intersections around the county.?? Why not figure out our total “needs” BEFORE we commit to just one project?
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??? If you want a referendum on this project, you must act now.?? The money can’t be borrowed unless 6 of the 9 freeholders vote for it.?? Personally call, write, and e-mail Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, and all nine freeholders.?? Get their contact information from www.libertyandprosperity.org or http://www.aclink.org/webadmin/MainPages/Gov.asp.
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??? Contact our state representatives Whelan, Polistina, and Amodeo!?? The citizens of Brigantine proved how easy it is to force a voter referendum when LOCAL government borrows money.?? It’s much harder to challenge COUNTY government borrowing.?? Ask our state officials to apply local referendum laws to county borrowing.
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??? If all else fails, contact www.libertyandprosperity.org, and learn how to effectively influence your government officials, and how to run a winning campaign for public office.?? Maybe YOU should run for freeholder next year!
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??? For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or 609-927-7333.??? Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.

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