A lot has been said about the WW-P $115 million referendum. There are clearly two different camps: the “nay” and the “yea.”
Let’s start with the “yea” camp: More developments are coming, therefore, there is a need for more classrooms; we need more science labs; heating/air conditioning systems need to be replaced (HSN costing $16 million); security vestibules in all 10 buildings.
So far everything seems ok and logical. However, let’s now view the “nay” side: adding “Iron Chef” type kitchens at both high schools at a cost of $2 million per kitchen; adding 1,200-square-foot science labs which are so over the top that the state will not cover the cost with the aid that WW-P is getting; running our capital reserves to zero and even creating a deficit of $8 million is dangerous and highly irresponsible; increasing our taxes by the allowed 2 percent on a yearly basis.
It seems that the school administration has not done their due diligence. When Superintendent David Aderhold says that the “debt portion” will not impact your taxes, he is cleverly forgetting to add that your taxes will go up 2 percent every year, which does not have to be this way.
There were other superintendents that kept taxes at a zero increase year over year. And all capital reserves money comes from our tax payments. Obviously $115 million does not magically appear out of nowhere. We will be paying for this for the next 20 years.
In addition, given the new U.S. tax code, our federal deduction for property taxes are capped at $10,000. Therefore, if the administration keeps increasing our taxes year after year, will we be able to deduct less and less. Why isn’t the goal to hold taxes steady or have a 2 percent decrease next year?
I have spoken with several parents and taxpayers and they have mentioned the following:
1. When the administration says that all the buildings will be positively impacted, it looks like the administration has been going building by building to look for projects to do in the building.
2. The school board never voted on a per project basis in this referendum. The board was given a list of all different projects, however, the board never had a chance to decide which projects make sense and which ones could be delayed.
3. Capital reserves have been at an all-time high, which means they have collected too much from us in taxes for years. Therefore, the administration has been able to do the addition of Village ($13 million), Maurice Hawk ($16 million) and Town Center ($5 million )without the community’s input, and without state aid.
Our West Windsor and Plainsboro communities deserve a much better deal than the one we are being presented with. On Nov. 6 send a clear message to the administration and vote “no” for the referendum, and vote for new school board members who will be financially responsible.
— Veronica Mehno, West Windsor