Letter To Editor: On The Failed Referendum
● By Rebecca K. Abma
Like some Midland Park parents, clearly not all, I was upset by the recent vote on the referendum for our schools. To the people who voted “No” I commend you on your victory at the expense of our children. If some of you had just taken the time to visit any of the three schools you would see the need for repairs.
Growing up in Bergen County and having visited other schools for various reasons including work related I can honestly say our schools are some of the worst maintained. This is at NO way the fault of the staff. I cannot stress this enough. Everyone I have met at the schools including the principals, teachers, maintenance staff and even the crossing guards go out of their way for our children and their schools. By voting this budget down this was a slap in the face to each one of them. Imagine going to work where the roof leaks, bathrooms are broken, communication lines cut and the temperature of your workspace is so hot you need to wear shorts in the winter. Everything in our schools has been outdated for over twenty years.
I have been to schools in Essex, Passaic and Monmouth Counties as well, and their schools are also in better condition than ours. I can appreciate the concern over higher taxes but this also affects the property value of our homes. The schools will continually get worse, not better. Passing this problem on to the next generation of Midland Park residents is not only selfish, it is against everything I have learned about being a responsible citizen.
I went to the recent Board of Education (BOE) meeting since the referendum vote. Some of the BOE members were very informative and equally concerned about our schools and children, while other members flat out lied and seemed to become irritated with questions from concerned parents. Those parents were there to support the BOE, the referendum and the students. Furthermore, they passed the blame on to the Mayor and the Town Council while the Mayor and the Council blames the BOE.
Although this letter may seem a bit harsh we need to try and address the problems of our schools as a community. Whether you have children in Midland Park Schools or not we should all understand and appreciate the importance of a SAFE, well-maintained school. The condition of our schools reflects the pride and admiration we have in our town. I urge everyone in town to really think about the importance of an education. Not everyone has a child in school, but everyone was once a child in school. What are we saying about ourselves that in the 10 years since the last referendum vote nothing has been fixed and nothing is going to get fixed? What will happen to Midland Park when young families move out and no new families want to move in? If the voters of Midland Park truly believe the best solution for our schools is to not properly fund them then the Mayor, Town Council and the BOE need to come together to solve this problem.