The article below appeared in the April 2009 Harding Township Civic Association Thumbnail.
Since joining the Harding Township School district, I have been awestruck by our extremely talented educators and the commitment by our community to support our schools. Many residents move into Harding for our low taxes and successful small school atmosphere. They are not alone. Research indicates that small schools are safer for students and provide for more individual attention and instruction. Small schools cultivate better teaching practices, allow for higher expectations and equate to less bureaucracy. Unfortunately, both the low tax rate and our small school environment may be put in jeopardy by Governor Corzine's stated mandate of school consolidation/regionalization.
According to the current state equalization formula, taxes will increase and Harding Township School with its assets will become property of the newly formed regional school district. The Harding Board of Education is working with me to understand all aspects and angles of the impact on Harding Township, its students and taxpayers of a possible regionalization or consolidation of its school system. We are committed to sharing that information and analysis as it is developed with all who are interested.
Governor Corzine, why are you trying to remove a school district that has statistically provided exemplary education with an outstanding historical budget support from the community? John Murray indicated, at a recent Township Committee meeting, that the "property tax rate of $1.036 per thousand dollar of assessed value is the lowest in Morris County." Further, there is a lack of research to say that consolidation saves money and forced consolidation is NOT recommended in any local or national study!
I look forward to working with the Harding Citizens to understand what paths lay ahead and which of those paths will enable us to continue our dual focus of putting children first and serving the residents of Harding Township in the most effective and fiscally efficient way. This is the single, most important issue facing Harding Township and requires your attention