The traditional springtime school board elections that allows voters to approve or disapprove the approximately 479 school district budgets throughout 19 counties of the state, resulted in the rejection of 260 of 479 school budgets. This is the first time in over 35 years that voters rejected 50 percent or more of the their school budgets. And in one case, one county rejected more than 2/3 of their municpal school budgets.
The normally lower than usual voter turnout that the annual school board and budget elections produce, saw much higher than average turnout yesterday. This is despite the fact that state teachers union have embarked on a multimillion dollar statewide campaign to win support for increased spending on education as well as high mandatory pay increases and the continuation of even more lucrative state pension plans for teachers.
The New Jersey Education Association union, has been relentlessly attacking Republican Governor Christie ever since he delivered his state budget message and announced precise steps to reduce the size and cost of state government and begin to close an $11 billion dollar budget deficit in what is the most overtaxed and one of the most underemployed states in the nation.
In that address Governor Christie detailed the reduction of every single department of state government and vowed that after previous governors and state legislators raised taxes over 115 times during the past eight years, he will not repeat their mistakes.
In that same address, the Governor took aim at unions and specifically, the all powerful teachers union.
He said that the teacher’s union was repsonsible for creating two classes in New Jersey, “those who enjoy rich public benefits and those who pay for them.”He went further and put the teacher’s union on the spot after staing that unions use;
“political muscle fueled by intimidation tactics, political bullying and smears of public officials who dare to disagree.”
“This conduct has set up an unfair system. Is it fair to have any public employees getting 4-5% salary increases every year, even when inflation is zero %, paid for by citizens struggling to survive? It is fair to have New Jersey taxpayers foot the bill for 100% of the health insurance costs of teachers and their families from the day they are hired until the day they die? Is it fair that teachers have a better, richer health plan than even state workers and pay absolutely nothing for it?
I believe rank and file teachers know this is not fair and that we can no longer afford to burden our taxpayers with these costs and runaway taxes. The union bosses will tell you, as they always have each time their empire is threatened, that they are protecting our children. This tired song has grown old and inaccurate. Is the way our children learn affected by whether the union gets free family health insurance for life for its members? Does a child learn more if the union gets 5% taxpayer funded raises every year for its members? This is nonsensical and self-serving and we all know it.”
This combined with Christie’s across the board budget cuts, has prompted teachers into a frenzy of fear mongering that has tried to paint Chris Christie as a child killer.
But yesterday, in an unprecedented wave of unorchestrated reaction, voters ratified Chris Christie’s position and rejected the notion that in order to educate the children of New Jersey, money must be pumped into an endless education bureaucracy and residents must “foot the bill” for every aspect of every teachers life.
Apparently the teachers union’s campaign to turn Chris Christie into an enemy of children backfired and turned out to be another waste of money by New Jersey educators because their multi million dollar anti-Christie camapign did not convince voters that Governor Christie is wrong and they failed to get voters to buy their excuses for the need of more money, more taxes and more spending. They rejected it.