School Regionalization

There is a meeting Tuesday night at 7pm in Great Meadows School to discuss regionalization of Hackettstown, Great Measows and Liberty. This will make our taxes in Hackettstown go even higher. Children from here will need to be bused to there. The Superintendent is saying our schools here in Hackettstown are overcrowded. If that is the case how were Hatchery Hill students able to be absorbed into Hackettstown buildings? I do realize that some were bused to Great Meadows.

This whole idea is ridiculous. Our school taxes are high enough. We need to stop this now! We need our own superintendent and not a shared one with ulterior motives!

I agree with you Sport, 100%!!! It is a definite conflict of interest to have one superintendent for two such closely related districts. He wants to remedy one district's problems at the expense of the other's.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
3 weeks ago

Find out the facts before you post! It is not about regionalization. It's a feasibility study about possibly sending our (Hackettstown ) 7th and 8th grades to great meadows middle school.

3 weeks ago

Isn't that still going to cost Hackettstown taxpayers more money? Same issue different way to say it!

I would suggest you attend the meeting and find out the facts. That is precisely why there is a special meeting scheduled.

3 weeks ago

Let's keep our children in Hackettstown. Attend the meeting to put a stop to this "feasibility study"!

I guess Hackettstown residents don't realize that their district over charged great meadows almost 2 million dollars...

Regionalization is a very different beast, but the feasibility study results will be presented. The study was all about sending Hackettstown 7th & 8th graders to Great Meadows. Please attend and ASK QUESTIONS! Hopefully they will be allowed.
Keep in mind, in a sending agreement, the sending district, in this case Hackettstown, does not have decision making power on the board, unless they are given a seat on the board. And then you would only be able to vote for 1 representative on the GM board. Sport has a great point, it does seem that the middle school may be able to absorb some additional students, as that is where Willow's 3rd & 4th graders went for over a month. This would keep our kids in town and I can't imagine that it would be costly. Please attend the meeting, read between the lines and ask questions!

I also find it interesting that I got countless robo-calls about this meeting in the past few months, but none the week before it occurs.

bac. Both School’s BOEs would have to vote to approve this

Correct, I was referring to afterwards, if it were to pass. For example, currently GM and Allamuchy both send students to HHS. As per the agreement, each of those towns/districts has 1 representative on the Hackettstown BOE. Thus, they have only a small influence on the board, being outnumbered by Hackettstown members.
If Hackettstown sends 7th&8th graders to GM, it would be the GM BOE that makes all policy decisions that affect the GM school district, including those students sent from Hackettstown.

Parental Unit, so if it’s a conflict of interest you would rather Hackettstown pay for one full set of administration and great meadows
Pay for another set?

btownguy btownguy
3 weeks ago

Deviljet, this action is basically regionalization without having to put it up for a public vote. Mr. Mango is a very smart man and I'm sure he knew what the feasibility study would show before it was done. I would put money on the study showing it WILL BENEFIT both districts. I disagree with this, as do ALL the people I have spoken to regarding it. But I will also bet the BOE will vote yes since that is what Mr. Mango wants. I don't know if that vote will take place at tonight's meeting or at some later date. But it won't matter what the public wants or what arguments are presented, Mr. Mango will make it happen. As I said earlier, him being the superintendent for both districts is a definite conflict of interests. That should never have been allowed to happen. No one wanted the feasibility study done, but Mr. Mango overrode everyone's opinions and spent our money anyway to have it done.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
3 weeks ago

County level regionalization. One superintendent. Curriculum from Belvidere to Hackettstown to Phillipsburg should not be any different.

Parental Unit is 100% correct. Hate to break it to you. The decision has already been made and on our dime. Both boards are already in agreement as they see it mutually beneficial. The Hackettstown BOE are weak and lazy. The GM Board wants Hackettstown money and to fill seats in their already depleting enrollment. Mango is a puppet and a tool. No way this benefits Hackettstown at all just more charity.

I understand that the study was done using the schools' own population/enrollment figures and projections; not data from an outside, impartial source. Gee, I wonder if those numbers work to the schools' advantage?

No regrets
3 weeks ago

btownguy, to answer your question, yes that is exactly what I would like to see. We already each have our own administrators. It is the shared superintendent that I see as a conflict. Furthermore, personally, I would like to see Mr. Mango NOT be my district's superintendent. I do not trust that he has our best interests in mind.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
3 weeks ago

Seems like most of the people who actually live in the town, pay taxes and send their children to the schools are against this. If enough of us rally together, maybe we can impeach ;-0

Concerned Concerned
3 weeks ago

You can replace Mango and bring in any one you want. Regionalization was already decided 20 years ago in Trenton. With all of the mandates the only way to save your school tax dollar is to be a bigger district. It's a miracle it hasn't happened already.

What options does Hackettstown have (short term and long term) to accommodate their increasing enrollment?

As a private citizen,
I cordially invite all of you to attend tonight's meeting at GM Middle School at 7 pm tonight. There is a scheduled two hour Q&A session built into the agenda after the presentation has been made. There will be a time limit per question so that everyone can be heard.

If you cannot physically make the meeting or are more comfortable behind a screen, the following link will live stream the event:

Get informed and make your decisions based on the information provided by the study. The study will also be posted online so that the public will have the same information as the two Boards

If you are in attendance tonight or watch the live stream, we will all be hearing the same information for the first time together. No one has seen the report, tonight will be the first time the information is communicated to the public and to the Boards.

This is an informational post and really shouldn't require additional commentary. If you feel the need to comment please introduce yourself to me at tonight's meeting or at any other time and I will shake your hand and we can engage in civilized conversation.

Looking forward to an interesting evening.

Mike Herbst
H'twn Parent
H'twn Tax Payer
H'twn BOE Member

Mike Herbst Mike Herbst
3 weeks ago

Well said Mike. Hopefully tonight's meeting will be a truth based, rational non emotional exchange of information. Frankly a lot of responders to this conversation have no idea what they are talking about and this meeting will help to clarify things and set the record straight.

Who did the study? An outside source or someone hired by Mango? Not snarky....just wondering?

Concerned Concerned
3 weeks ago

they know the info in the report, maybe they haven't seen the finalized printed copy (giving them all 'plausible deniability') but they know what the data indicates, give me a break already with the nonsense here

BrotherDog BrotherDog
3 weeks ago

who's gonna make sure the doors are unlocked so the public can attend this open public meeting?? last meeting many were locked out with no way to get inside, which made several BOE members smile in satisfaction i'm quite sure,

BrotherDog BrotherDog
3 weeks ago

The study was contracted privately on the tax payers dime for $12,000 approx. No need since study's were done those can be found on line. If you read those study's you will see how Hackettstown is the loser in the scenario of reorganization. GM schools are down and Hackettstown is about where it should be. Hackettstown loses big time. If you look at the cost between the two schools it's something like $17k for an educated kid in GM and about $15K for Hackettstown plus Hackettstown gets to bear bussing expenses on top for a 7th and 8th grade relocation.

Mango probably won't admit it, but he went private for the survey to ensure they get the results they want. Also I heard the Board will NOT be answering questions from the public they will hide behind the paid crony to field all the public's questions. I think that says a lot about integrity. Again Hackettstown residents paid this guy $12,000 for a study that was already done.

In case anyone cares the report has the budgets for both schools including salaries:

Mango (Superintendent) $167,500 with a $25,000 bonus for Hackettstown plus $67,000 salary for GM
Wolcekowski (Board secretary) $128,750 with a $11,000 bonus
Morsillo (IT and Technology Specialist) $89,204 no bonus

One of the biggest line items on the Hackettstown budget is our sports programs with a whopping $836,388 budgeted for athletics. We exceeded the budget by $33K. So the board clearly has education at the top of its agenda. The cost is $310K more than basic skills costs.

"Mango (Superintendent) $167,500 with a $25,000 bonus for Hackettstown plus $67,000 salary for GM"

just one clarification it's not + $67,000 for GM, that $67K from GM coming out of his $167,000 salary. We as 2 towns split his base salary he doesn't get 2 base salaries. That's the reason for the shared super.

Thanks Jim L. It was a little confusing as the budget report is split between Hackettstown and GM with no clarification if the $67K on the GM side was apportioned from the total. Thanks for the clarification.

12K is just barely the cost of a single student. Not sure why folks are getting their panties in a wad. By the way do you really think building a new school will be cheaper? My kids are out of the public schools, and I for one had issues with both the Great Meadows BOE and the Hackettstown BOE. Both appear to be more about protecting teachers and administrators jobs than kids. But that being said regionalization where we could eliminate three BOE's, three superintendents and three separate teachers contracts all playing of the other to get increases could actually save us money. Hell it might even offer us better education as it increases the resources available, but of course that means nothing when it comes to already biased parents concerned about losing control of something they do not actually have any control over.

I am a retired senior citizen. Can someone explain to me why the taxpayer is not getting to vote on this? Why did the taxpayers not get to vote on the million and half dollar vestibule projects? This decision will effect all of us in Great Meadows.

no problem don.

Here are the options gang:

1. Great Meadows closes a school, Hackettstown adds on or builds a new school.
2. Great Meadows takes in Hackettstown students for tuition, They keep a school open, Htown does not have to build.
3. Regionalize - Hackettstown gives up control of its BOE, all the districts throw in their assets, your kids might be bussed to a far away school under a new alignment.

My take on each:

#1. Costs too much for both districts to be palatable.
#2. Both districts save money and assets without giving up control.
#3. There is zero support in any of the districts for regionalization, and as that would need voter approval, "Ain't gonna happen".

I vote #2.

I don't get where the OP and some others on here insist on this being a #3 scenario when it is clearly not.

BTW Agust - how does eliminating a non paid BOE save money? Would you rather have 3 seats on a combined board or 9 seats on your own board?

USS Nathan James
2 weeks ago

There are more options than that

4) Hackettstown moves to age based schools for Willow and Hatchery
5) Bring in Trailers to HH or WG

Jim L. -

#4 Even with age based schools, add in Bilby road, Bergen Tool, and WaWa developments the children don't fit unless you ramp up the Teacher/Student ratio to an unnacceptable number.
#5 Do you want your kids in trailers if there is a better option?

USS Nathan James
2 weeks ago

I heard Bilby Rd. Project Aka "Princess Towers" was a no go... as in not happening. Anyone know the truth?

Concerned Concerned
2 weeks ago

We had portable units at the middle school in Roxbury when I went there 25 years ago. Eventually they tore them down and added another wing to the school.

#4.. how do you know they won't fit? Do you know when they are actually going to be built? Do you know the age of the kids that will be moving in?
#5 It depends on if this is a short term issue or a long term issue.

Right now the issue is at the elementary schools. The Middle school has room, even enough to handle WG's 3rd and 4th graders.

So is this just a few years of large classes that came into town and the next wave of elementary students won't be as big or is this an ongoing issue where every year each new K class is getting bigger and bigger? That's what we need to know.

Are they going to show us how each grade has gotten bigger year after year or are they just going to show up how the total enrollment has gone up.

But I would think we would want to exhaust every in town option before we would want to go out of town to find a solution.

"I heard Bilby Rd. Project Aka "Princess Towers" was a no go... as in not happening. Anyone know the truth?"

It's being held up due to financing issues. Developer still wants it and is trying to make it work so I wouldn't call it dead yet.

I agree Metsman. I too went to Roxbury 30 years ago and used those same trailers at Eisenhower.

The Bilby project is going to die a slow death and the Bergen Tool isn’t happening yet.

Class size is overrated. I was from a graduating class of nearly 450.

Clearly GM has more to gain on this.

Don, you are incorrect. Hackettstown has far more to gain than GM. Hackettstown is in financial distress and can't pass a school budget. The schools are being outgrown due to multiple failed rezoning attempts and town voters continually shooting down the idea of building a new school or adding on to a current school. GM's only issue is declining enrollment, but the district has many options for dealing with this, one being- doing nothing at all. GM has the ability to self sustain, no assistance necessary! This redistricting plan is a bailout for Hackettstown, plain and simple.

CMom -

You have no idea what you are talking about. Hackettstown is not in Financial distress. But it would be cheaper to pay tuition to GM than build a new wing. And if that helps out GM, Whats the harm? Because with the population waning you will be closing schools or digging deeper for taxes. Take your pick.

USS Nathan James
2 weeks ago

I have every idea of what I'm talking about. I have spent more time researching this than I care to admit. If you look at the real numbers and not what Mango and the Boards have crammed down our throats, you would know what I'm talking about, too.


You are just plain wrong. Delude yourself however you see fit but spare us your unfounded diatribes. They are just a waste of everyones time.

Make sure you get there early tonight. Be sure to stand up to the mike and make a complete fool out of yourself in person instead of on here. I'm going just to see that.

USS Nathan James
2 weeks ago

Ok. I'm happy to have a fan base.

Jim L - you violate Sunshine Laws as a Councilman all the time by posting on threads that you should, as an elected official, not comment on and reveal information that should not be discussed. Show some class. You are lucky this town is a Republican town as if you ran in a more competitive town, you would easily be voted out of office with your attitude towards your constituents.

The regionalization idea is stupid and either expand one of the schools, try to convert Saint Mary's School into a school or find another way to keep the students in Hackettstown. Hopefully then this will cut down on top-heavy administration at the middle school and maybe they should combine both elementary schools for just one administrator as well.

Mango is an awful administrator and the Board is so clueless for keeping him.

2 weeks ago

CMom, what was the vote count at the last budget vote? Since you claim they’ve failed to pass one, how much did the last one fail by?

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

There is no overcrowding at Hackettstown schools. Students have been moved from Willow Grove to make the others seem crowded. Our ears are being filled with no truths. Where is Mr. Gratz when we need him?

Anyone else having problems with the Live Stream of tonight's presentation? Last 5 minutes the website indicates "This stream is not active at this time. This page will refresh in 30 seconds"

Uh oh. Stream isn't working for me. Reports are coming in that BD was seen running around GMRMS with a foil hat chanting about how this is the "man holding you down".

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

USS Nathan, I hope that you heard how many times they mentioned that Hackettstown was in fiscal distress and that they have major budgetary concerns, from Mango himself.

lt's very sad the disrespect the Mayor and Councilman Sheldon showed Mr. Mango and the members of their own School Board tonight. Even if they do not support the intent of the feasibility study show some professionalism representing the town!

Lifelongtownie Lifelongtownie
2 weeks ago

Please lifelongtownie. The Mayor and Councilman Sheldon are class acts, Mango is a snake oil salesman who should have fired years ago, along with Sosnovick, Thompson and all of his administrative cronies.

The Mayor and Sheldon DEFENDING our town is the professional thing to do. Good job Maria and Scott for doing the right thing.

2 weeks ago

Maybe it's good they stood up for something?

Standing up for something you believe in and disrespect are two different things. As an elected official I would think you would know the difference. I agree with lifelongtownie.

Jerseymate Jerseymate
2 weeks ago

Want to save monies ??

Basic sport program for all schools, anything beyond, like any other "specialty item", should be funded separately by the parents that chose .

If a "B" average maintained thru life of program, reimbursement attainable ( imagine that, having to be accountable for monies provided , instead of elderly neighbor subsidizing )
This would save all wasted monies for programs that are extra curricular.

Great point Steven.

My takeaway from last night. Hespie (sp?) was a joke. A whole presentation lacking any numbers, charts, sources? Then goes on to say he used someone else's study and lifted from that. And that $12,000 only gets you a 68 page report. Let's see if the numbers from the study are really posted. Also interesting that the FY17 study was taken down.

It was a pleasure to see Mango full of flop sweat while presenter stammered along. It really seems that the problem, if there is one is in that the Liberty school is in trouble.

Moving the line gave false skews in Hackettstown. Never should have been moved, or at least moved again to try an compensate for an error.

Bottom line is the Hackettstown middle school absorbed an influx of kids during the "mold" crisis and the teachers and staff handled it. The class sizes aren't too big in fact they've shrunk. Many in town seem to remember having class sizes in the 30's. I personally know my class size was huge, the entire size of the Hackettstown high school. I just don't see the urgency. What I see, is a GM enrollment issue or a continued period of time and the reality faced with having to shut one of it's schools. This plays out to be more of a charity issue disguised as a mutual down problem.

Clearly if Mango didn't sit on the fence, this conversation wouldn't happen nor would the meeting occur with two independent supers.

But it was nice to hear everyone's input a lot of good suggestions and obviously people who care. The common theme was nobody wanted this. Except Ed O'Meila, he was very outspoken of all the board members, fielding question and stifling tax payers. He has the most to lose out of everyone on the stage. Gus Bordi and the Hackettstown board stayed quiet all night, maybe just one minor whisper of a question.

Can't wait for the next one.

Wow, that sounds like a suck-wad of a meeting. Should be all about the numbers and the financial effect on both districts --- sending and receiving. I mean one side does not want to send, I am sure the other side really does not want to receive either.

Certainly it can't be about much else since who would want to send their kids farther away if they didn't have to. And Liberty already has enough church-destroying, idle-handed extra numnuts of their own; certainly does not need to import more from the illegal alien center of our area.

This is not about regionalization, not even close; this is about load sharing of facilities. If we start thinking regionalization, you need to start at the county level, not one school.

Looked for the presentation on line; so far no success.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

I disagree that the mayor was being disrespectable. She 1) pointed out that we did not ask for the re registration as Mr. Mango and others kept insisting we did. 2) pointed out that we as a town had done our own demographic study as part of our Fair Share Housing report we need to submit to the state. We shared our study with the gentleman running the feasibility study and asked to see what study he was using since the numbers did not match ours. Her request to see the study was denied and was told would be shown at the meeting, which it was not, perhaps it will be in the full 67 page report? But since our demo study does not match the one they used, she asked that before any decision is made they look closely at the 2 studies and get a true understanding of the numbers before making a decision. 3) Pointed out that our hospital has closed its maternity ward mainly due to the fact that births in town have gone down to the point it can not support a maternity ward, which goes to justify the town's demo study which shows our population is decreasing, not increasing even with the 3 housing projects on the horizon. 4) pointed out that our town engineer invited the BOE to attend a master plan meeting to discuss any future projections the BOE sees that may effect the town, which the BOE did not attend.

I think she did a great job and thank her and the other representatives from Liberty, Independence and Allamuchy for attending.

Jim L, perhaps another reason the maternity ward was closed is not due to lack of births in town, but the quality of care available elsewhere. HRMC is a very convenient hospital for my family, yet we know people that drove to Morris County for their children’s birth.

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

Cmom - you saw what you wanted to see.

No one said Hackettstown was in distress. The presentation showed both districts have issues that may need to be addressed. GM has to close a school or keep paying higher taxes for half empty buildings. Hackettstown, which has stayed under the cap for many years, may have to go to referendum or cut staff while maintaining 4 full buildings.

What I got from the meeting is don't do the send receive; but I guarantee all those same people will be back in the near future complaining about their taxes when Hackettstown has to build and GM loses more population but is forced by the people to keep 3 buildings open.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can't have it both ways gang.

What I don't understand is the thinly veiled undertone from GM residents not wanting their children to mix with Hackettstown kids. Where does that come from? It wasn't so long ago that a lot of the GM kids were farmers and migrant workers families that came to town and were welcomed no problem. Does GM have a better class of people than Hackettstown all of a sudden?

I liked it better when we worked and acted like one community. I hope last night was an aberration and we can go back to that place.

USS Nathan James
2 weeks ago

You might be onto something Nathan. The funny thing is they all end up in high school together, so I don't understand that mentality.

Didn't a lot of the doctors also stop doing births because of insurance?

I went to Morristown for both of my births!

Nathan, I saw none of that attitude expressed at the meeting (although it certainly was discussed on this board - where we don't even know if the posters live in the area.) I think it was in poor taste for Mango to start the meeting by saying something about people saying bad things about each other. The only comment close to that was from a Hackettstown resident, in support of those parents in town who do not drive or have cars, concerned that not being able to walk to the school will prevent them from attending school functions. It was not expressed in a negative way at all.

I agree with Jim L, that Mayor DiGiovanni simply stated facts. I don't think she was disrespectful at all. I can not say the same for Mr. Bordi, when he starting questioning a resident (was it you Jim?) about whether or not he had attended a previous meeting, seemingly challenging his right to speak if he had not attended the meeting in the spring.

And, yes, Hackettstown's budget challenges were mentioned repeatedly.

No regrets
2 weeks ago

The days of every town having a Grammer school and Middle school are going to end. It's not going to be fiscally sustainable in the current model. This is going to be a discussion that will be taking place all across New Jersey in the coming years.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
2 weeks ago

I can not say the same for Mr. Bordi, when he starting questioning a resident (was it you Jim?)

yea that was weird. I was a little confused what he was talking about at first, then I figured it out. I got called out for not telling the board about the meeting our Town engineer requested they attend. Not sure why he called me out on that, I guess he was embarrassed that they didn't attend? But I didn't know about the meeting the town engineer had until it was completed so I obviously couldn't tell them about a meeting I didn't know about. Not to mention the BOE has a member that is also on the planning board so if he had knowledge of this meeting beforehand I'm sure he would have told the rest of the board about it. So I guess the invitation to the meeting got lost or they saw it and decided not to attend. who knows. either way that was a weird exchange we had.

Demographics have to be clearly articulated
Is there really a capacity issue in HT? This has to be the first step

To many cons for HT if there is not a real capacity issue.

Pro for GM to have a significant tax decrease

The Facts
2 weeks ago

The disrespect showed at last night’s meeting came from Mango and members of both boards, not the Htown Mayor or Town Council members.

The lack of class displayed last night by the BOE Presidents was embarrassing. This was a public forum for the town to ask questions. Their responses were defensive, argumentative and not in the best interests of the students but rather Mango’s agenda.

While the BOE may not have seen the actual presentation in advance of the meeting, they certainly knew the outcome as did the public. There was no way that someone would come back and say it’s not feasible. To think otherwise is ludicrous. However, the report did not consider all options. Just the options Mango wants supported.

LetTheTownsBeHeard LetTheTownsBeHeard
2 weeks ago

Why does the town have to cater to people who don’t have cars? I don’t know how anyone can function without a vehicle. You think neighboring towns worry about that? This is 2017. It’s kind of hard to live in the suburbs without one.

the point she bought up metsman is some people moved to Hackettstown solely because it is a walking town and they could get their kids to school and attend school function without needing a car. That would change dramatically for them if now their kids were to go to a school miles away. It was a great point that was bought up and one that the gentleman that conducted the feasibility study did not factor in.

and just because you can't figure out how someone can function without a car doesn't mean it's not an issue.

Ugh! I have to agree with metsman on this one.
Being politically correct we know why walking to busing is now suddenly an issue. My $7400k property taxes speak for themselves especially in a dumb down educational society. What are you going to take away next in The High School while at the same time raising our taxes? Who is going to want to move here with such a basic curriculum? One language offered at the High School. But plenty of dollars spent on unnecessary security!

I'm just slowly watching my equity depreciate.

Also not sure how it’s 2017 makes it harder to live in the suburbs without a car? If anything it’s easier. You can telecommute to work. You can order groceries and have them delivered to your home. There’s Uber to take you to doctor appointments. Hell it’s probably easier now more than even to function without a car then it ever was.

Jim L

Years ago independence students went to Hackettstown for middle school n high school. Hackettstown and Independence were great schools. Now they both are "just schools"!
But... Our taxes keep rising year after year! Nothing gained instead classes taken away.

Is it about the kids or the liner in the pocket?

I have 2 kids In the school district so yes I want the best education for them. I also have a concern that for my 5th grader, he will be the first class effect by this change if they are looking to move in 2019/2020 School year.

To those of you who did not attend this meeting,the video of the entire meeting will be posted on both schools web sites as well as Mr. Hespe's 70 page report. With that being said, the comments /questions from both sides were overwhelming against this merger. As far as GMR residents are concerned,if this is approved,we will never get out of this deal, as the state would have full control over this issue once it is passed. That is a huge intangible cost,one which any resident in the district would be nuts to take on. Time to start a petition folks!

Lets be honest, the people who aren't driving are mostly the growing illegal hispanic population which as of 2014 is 5.4% of the state population.
I'm not of the mind to make things easier for people like that. Come to this country the right way and then you have a say in how things go. I don't know any people other than people like this in this area that don't have a car. You see these people walking all over town carting their laundry in carts, riding bikes, standing at the convenience store across from Stella G's looking for work, and they rent out all the apartments on main st that no one wants.

Good lord there is no end to ignorance even on Thanksgiving.

Metsman, I know many people in the area who choose not to have cars because we live in a small, very walkable town. My husband and I had one car between us for many years because we both worked in town. I have coworkers now who save money by sharing cars. All legal residents just looking to live within their means. I grew up in town and was walking distance from every school I attended. When I got older, this allowed my parents to work without worrying about having to schedule around bussing. How is it a racial issue?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Katherine Katherine
2 weeks ago

You know many people who don't have cars around here? I highly doubt that unless they're senior citizens. And sharing a car is not the same as not having one. When you share one you make your schedule work so that you have transportation. The majority of people here legally with school age children have at least one car.

Bonv people like you are the ignorant ones. You ignore the reality of whats going on around you. I saw another site that said as of 2017 the illegal population is over 6% here. In another decade it'll be over 10% at the rate things are going. We have the 4th highest population of illegals in the country.

LOL @Metsman. Blah, blah, illegal, blah, blah.

Wow, Hackettstown has the highest rate of illegals in the country?! I guess people must be flocking here from Newark, Paterson, Elizabeth, Camden, Trenton and other cities.

METSman... My Entire Thought Stinks MAN...

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

All of the "white" children today in elementary schools are going to be minorities in the near future, the statistics are out.
OTOH, they will be able to apply for the affirmative action program.
The white male will be at the top of the list for that program.

Statistically, Black vs White divorce rate almost the same.
Hispanic, way lower, they are more family oriented.
Asian, the least of all in divorce.

Some want game rooms and granite countertops, new cars yet are always empty inside.
Others just want family..

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

Circling the bowl with the hooded crowd.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

btownguy the state.... Where did I say Hackettstown.... Did you even look at the link.... talk about ignorance...

The link shows we AS A STATE have one of the highest percentages of illegals. And if you don't see them around you in our community then you're blind.


If illegals are the problem as you say, what do you think should happen to contractors that hire them?
How about seize all company and private assets including vehicles, homes, retirement funds, etc.

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

METSman said:

“Bonv people like you are the ignorant ones. You ignore the reality of whats going on around you. I saw another site that said as of 2017 the illegal population is over 6% here. In another decade it'll be over 10% at the rate things are going. We have the 4th highest population of illegals in the country.”

I don’t see the word “state” in that post. Boom.

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

I do not see many Hispanics bothering to get married. That's why their divorce stats are so low.
Lots of young unwed mothers in Hackettstown.

Why bother getting married if you are only going to get divorced in 10 years anyway?

Ramcharger Ramcharger
2 weeks ago

Lots of unwed mothers

Lots of unmarried Hispanics

Wait, I’m sensing a trend.

Yup, that Lili, she knows way too many of “those people” to be one of us.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

Didn’t take long for the racists to show up here. Good job Lili! I assume you personally spoke to each of those people you’re making assumptions about?

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

Dodgeball what does that have to do with the topic of this thread? My point is NJ has one of the higher percentages of illegals. You think their kids don't use our schools? The number of kids like that is just going to increase especially in a town where you have easy access to a train.

Btownguy I guess you're going to ignore the link before that that listed statistics from each state and just assume I'm saying it was Hackettstown. But I would take a guess that towns like ours with a train have more illegals than Mount Olive or Mansfield.

Of course illegals are costing a lot in school expenses but what are you going to do once these people are on US soil? Ban them from school and we will just have Oliver Twist criminals all over the place...

If these "illegals" are living in the apartments on main street that "no one wants," aren't they paying rent? Is the landlord paying school taxes on the property? I don't really understand how we assume these people (who i guess are deemed illegal because they're brown) are not basically paying the way any apartment renter would be.

The property taxes paid by commercial apartment landlords doesn't come close to covering the school costs. There are a lot of units crammed into these buildings. The true school costs per 100k assessed value exceed normal residential housing -- just a fact.

Yes, Mets, we realize you are talking Hackettstown while using NJ state statistics like Hackettstown is the Ohio of New Jersey. Not bloody likely, but OK.

"Of course illegals are costing a lot in school expenses." While this is true, what you have left out of course is that illegals are funding the schools just like you paying their fair share in property taxes, just like you. What I get upset about is tighty whities like you who are not pulling the tax load that snowflakes like me suffer. I mean you flippin middle classers who have been economic losers for years are just bringing me down with your average salaries, average properties, and all American kids. The nerve.

"Among the findings about New Jersey:
New Jersey ranked fifth in the amount of tax money collected from unauthorized immigrants. The state ranked behind California, Texas, New York and Illinois.
New Jersey has an estimated 528,000 unauthorized immigrants. About 25 percent own houses and their average family income is $34,500.
The $613.4 million New Jersey collected in state and local taxes from unauthorized immigrants included: $285.9 million in property taxes; $276.1 million in sales and excise taxes; and $51.4 million in personal income taxes.
Additional immigration reforms proposed by President Obama could bring in an additional $29 million in state and local taxes in New Jersey. Comprehensive immigration reform, which would provide a way for all unauthorized immigrants to become citizens, would increase state and local tax contributions by $88 million in New Jersey."

Illegals are also padding your retirement by paying billions in Social Security taxes without a glimmer of hope of every getting any Social Security back.

Illegals are not taking my job, not making my salary lower. Are they affecting yours Mets? Been having troubles pan handling on Main Street for jobs? Anyone you know?

The other side of this are the people renting, hiring, and selling things to illegals. You know, people just like you Mets. White guys. Tight guys. Conservatives. I mean they are being hired all over Main Street; do you think that work is outside of good ole Hackettstown? Nope, people just like Mets, you know ---- white guys who hate brown guys --- keep renting and hiring brown guys. And don't tell me it's not you Mets, because we all are getting services based on their labors. And they are renting all over Main Street where, without them, we could have beautiful empty buildings filled with Heroin users who took the train to get here.

Oh, the train, the train.....All I can say is this quote is from 2006...but from Newton (no train...) "I used to live in Newton. Its not a bad place but its being over run with illegals big time." Until you stand by the train and start counting the dayworkers coming off or going on it ---- think this is just your paranoia at work. Or move to Newton ---- no train and plenty of your kind up there.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

Lots of assumptions...

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Are any of them wrong? Do landlords let people stay rent free? Are the landlords not paying their taxes? Let's levy those accusations then.

Fact remains we have a higher percentage of illegals than most other states. If you think the children of these illegals aren't going to school with our children, then you live in a bubble. NJ is also on a list where illegal populations are rising. You're going to see more and more of these children entering our schools. They'll come here because of the convenience of schools being within walking distance and the train. So as much as people don't want to mix great meadows and hackettstown kids, it will need to happen unless another building is added in town for elementary kids. Or the government will have to do a better job of keeping illegals out of the country.

"Lots of assumptions..." But don't point them out or nothing......

Lots of (fill in the blank).

So true, so true.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

My comment was broad-based, not directed toward you C. McB.

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

That's fine, Justin. My mistake. The fact that people continue to harp on illegal immigrants increasingly muddies the waters AND poisons the well regarding this discussion. Have a nice day.

StrangerDanger does bring up some important points. One of which I brought up earlier which is how do the illegals get paid. Someone is hiring them, is it another illegal? Or is it a non illegal making a higher profit vs hiring a legal American. You really want to get rid of this problem as you call it, then seize the vehicles, houses, pension plans, retirement plans, and all other assets of those willing to hire or rent property to an illegal. Poof your so called problem is gone. However, there is too much money to be made for a scenario like that EVER to happen. Games will be played such as they are now, making them independent contractors, etc in order to skirt the law. If illegals had no work, they would not be here. They are here to work and those funds are being provided by your fellow Americans. No need to look farther than that. know a guy who makes MILLIONS of dollars outsourcing American jobs to the Philippines. Call center work, back office jobs, etc. An American getting rich by putting other Americans out of work. You won't see it on the street but (thanks to the new $15hr minimum wage) this guy is in ecstasy as he expects his business to boom.

Face the facts, Americans care more about how much money they have more than they care about other Americans.

As far as the comments below, and to some on here who complain about the youth not working, for the youth that are working, Social Security is going bankrupt. So not only are "illegals" padding your retirement, so are the teenagers working in McDonalds that are never going to see Social Security and Medicare as these will vaporize in their future, but it is deducted from their paycheck for the older generations to use. Think about that when you pick on the younger generations for things that they are not doing to your liking.

"Illegals are also padding your retirement by paying billions in Social Security taxes without a glimmer of hope of every getting any Social Security back."

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

Mets, your dealing with data that's close to four years old, pre-Trump, basing your trend estimates only on that data.

You leave out the part about NJ deportations being up 30%, arrests up 20%, much higher in recent years. Also, using your same source, PEW, from a 2017 piece, they stated that overall US illegal numbers are down from their peak in 2007 with a slight uptick in early estimates in 2016. Mexicans may no longer represent the majority in the influx either.

Yes out to 2014, NJ was still one of now only a handful of states increasing alien citizens, with 50% of the top ten increasing, and 50% decreasing. No news of change post Trump.

What I don't know is the Trump affect starting in 2017 which I expect to be noticeable as folks feel much more risk in crossing the border. Need to see that but I expect a downturn in the numbers.

Meanwhile, the real question for you METS, is: after you deport all the illegals, the DACAs, and anyone brown found walking... the question is what do you do and how to you pay to backfill 28% of NJ's workforce without raising our prices? What's your plan for moving forward after the deportations? Who's going to pay for the empty train? Who will stand on Main Street looking to mow your lawn?

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

No proble. C. McB.
I've come to terms over the years that brevity is best when it comes to dealing with these kinds of posts (hard-won lesson!). Often valid points are made by all, different only in the passion with which they weigh their perspective against other's. Speak too much here and the "there's no perspective other than my own (aka I'm right and you're wrong)" folks come out of the woodwork to criticize instead of discuss.
Hope you have an enjoyable day too.

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Additional proof that Americans only care about their own profits vs other fellow Americans. As long as they are getting things cheap, they could care less as to whether or not their fellow American has a job. It's all about "raising of prices."

Wave the Flag while getting a discount.

"The question is what do you do and how to you pay to backfill 28% of NJ's workforce without raising our prices?

Who will stand on Main Street looking to mow your lawn?"

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

I worked at the chester shoprite in the 90's. They paid illegals somehow. I worked directly with one who told me things about his life. He also worked at the burger king over there, so companies found ways to pay these people back then. I don't know how things are now, but lets not act like these places don't find ways.

SD this will be a sanctuary state soon. This would be an ideal place for an illegal to come to.

You want to keep paying this for these people? Give me a break. Build the damn wall and add better surveillance and border patrol. I doubt these people have mining equipment to get around it.

METSman, time to change your name to MePrejudicedMan

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

Btownguy, do you feel that all laws should be obeyed? If not, who is allowed to choose which laws are ok to ignore, and when?

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Oh I'm sorry btownguy I guess it's ok for these people to break the law and then the rest of us pay for them. Your logic is amazing.

there’s some debate as to who is paying what for who.

Illegal sure. But we can change that.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

Unauthorized immigrants, alien citizens, equel Illegal immigrants and Illegal alien citizens. I guess those are the new terms being used for Undocumented Workers.

Undocumented democrats

Can we get back to a simple thread discussion here? The point should be why a town like Hackettstown that has four public schools needs to send students to a smaller towns school? Answer: a corrupt Superintendent. What would happen when Mango goes and a new Superintendent comes in and is not put in charge of the Great Meadows Schools like Mango?

Also, there was talk about adding to Hatchery Hill since there is available land to do so and combining both elementary schools in town. That makes sense, as then you could make it big enough for PK-5th Grade, and then make the middle school only 6th through 8th Grade and then you have more room in the middle school, one elementary school, sell off Willow Grove School, and really could get rid of the Willow Grove administrator or make him the Vice-Principal of the new elementary school and get rid of the Middle School Vice-Principal which is a position that is really not needed to begin with if Thompson is doing his job, since everything thinks he is wonderful to begin with (which is not the case - he has no people schools with adults). When the additions are made, Saint Mary's School can be used to house some of the students or TEMPORARILY use Great Meadows schools during the construction.

This is what the topic is about. Enough with the immigration, enough with people either being Fox News analysts or MSNBC analysts and the outrage should be as the Mayor mentioned at the BOE meeting that people move to Hackettstown so their children can go to schools and walk to school, if needed in this town and then they will have to send their students to a school in another town that is smaller and uses our high school.

By the way, how is Gus Bordi still on the BOE? He failed in the primary to be the next Warren County Freeholder (thank heavens), he sent his kids to Saint Mary's for most of their academic careers, except high school, and he comes off as a self-centered and nasty man. There needs to be more people to run against Bordi and his cronies that allow Mango as the Superintendent and Sosnovick, who looks like he just graduated high school (and is just as nasty to boot) to be the High School Principal. Enough with the diversion off the main point of this thread.

2 weeks ago

Not all laws should be obeyed. For example, there’s a law in areas of PA where, if you’re driving at night, you must stop every mile and set off a rocket.

So no, not all laws need to be followed. And I bet you don’t follow that law eother.

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

So obeying laws is optional. You should have said that I the first place instead of accusing someone of being racist when every one of his comments had to do with folks not obeying the law.

Metsman, it's all good. We've just learned that one doesn' have to follow the law if they don't want to!

Btw btownguy, the way our society deals with this type of thing is to change the law. Can we agree to focus on that instead of playing the race card all the time?

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Wait - I get to set off rockets ?

Laws are only guidelines in today's society. Everyone knows that.

In Pa, Skippy, in Pa.

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

Is it not illegal to hire an illegal?
What do you propose we do to those that hire and harbor illegals?
Who do you blame more, those that use drugs or those that push drugs?

Those that hire illegals are like drug pushers, they provide the product.
The illegals are like drug addicts, they need the product provided by the pusher.

If one really wants to eliminate the problem, financially destroy those that hire.
That should be enough of a deterrent.
Americans love getting stuff cheap and so this will never happen, and you MetsMan will continue to complain about it.

Think it's bad now, wait till the 15$ minimum wage hits. AI, Robots and outsourcing are going to be devastating to the youth and those without a skillset.
Your fellow Americans have sold your country out.

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

These illegal immigrants are such a gray area - somebody should do a study on the economic impact.

At first was against them and trust me they have their own school bus have been caught behind it several times.

But then again all these fine restaurants have opened up and other business's - starting to think H'town would be a ghost town without them.

Go to Washington - was shocked they are knocking down buildings along Main St - kind of an eye opener that could be our town.

But I want to know - are they paying taxes?
or is it just a grey muddle...until it gets resolved at the Federal level.

Somebody should do a study - I think the town is booming but maybe it could be better if we bring our Latin Folks into the fold. I mean they are not ISIS carrying around bombs - they seem to want to work and make a better life for their familys and have no problem with that.

I think Hackettstown is the next Morristown in the next 10 yrs - that means higher property values and more cash into town.

The whole illegal immigrant tax thing needs to be done on the Federal/State level.
Personally always thought - they trapped them for Social Security reasons - to pay into it - sure come on in but like the Hotel California - you can check out any time you want but you can never leave. lol

I think that is going to happen soon - white people don't have enough babies anymore. It's just math and Fed's will trap them.

Welcome to America!

JIT, so you follow every law? Where do you purchase your rockets for when traveling in PA?

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

btownguy, the context of my question to you was in response to the use of race to metsman's ire about *illegal* citizens. Race has nothing to do with not following the law, thus the question.

I do think that he is making a "mountain out of a mole hill" by assuming that he knows (by virtue of race) who has broken the law and who hasn't, but the point of law is cystal clear.

To your point about always following the law, you are welcome to pick and choose which laws to follow as you please. Just know that it's the enforcers you are betting won't do their job. Game of craps there.

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Once again a topic on this forum has been hijacked to a completely different issue. If you want to talk about illegal immigrants, why don't you start a thread about that? This thread is about what the Superintendent and school boards of two different districts intend to do to the children and taxpayers of our towns.

Great Meadows and Hackettstown school districts are facing two very different situations. The Superintendent and Mr. Hespe say that Hackettstown is facing overcrowding and increased enrollment. The Mayor says that that isn't the case and that her numbers are not the same as reported in this study. Before deciding to spend millions of dollars, wouldn't it make sense to come to a consensus on what the real situation is?

In Great Meadows we have decreasing enrollment and the ability to mothball one school and save the taxpayers appx. 900,000 per year. A 2% increase on our tax levy would be 288,563. With the savings from closing one school and the over payment of nearly 2 million coming back, our district could have no increase to our school taxes for many years. This will not happen if we enter into a new send/receive agreement.

We are neighbors and we share a superintendent but we are also two separate districts and our individual BOE's need to remember who they represent.

In response to someone suggesting we use Saint Mary’s, it was brought out at the meeting that the owner didn’t want to sell the building to the town.

Jazzykatt Jazzykatt
2 weeks ago

can you make a mountain out of a whole bunch of mole hills??

2 weeks ago

I think the real issue is that there are board members that have personal interests at stake. Like a certain board president who has a non-tenured wife that works at Liberty school. You know, the school they talk of closing. In no way are Hackettstown schools overcrowded. They moved the line and created a worse scenario. The buildings that are supposed flood the town haven't broken ground, and may never. I still say if teachers can't penetrate the heads of 22-25 kids in a class with multiple aides, then maybe the staff needs looking at. But most teachers won't tell you this is the case. It's all false claims by two overstuffed BOE's and a greasy superintendent that works both sides to his advantage.

If there were TWO supers this meeting or conversation wouldn't even be happening. This is all to save Ed's failing control over the GM schools.

The study is a joke and the numbers reported don't jive.

JIT, thanks for dodging the question and not answering.

btownguy btownguy
2 weeks ago

I did btown, the last thing I wrote.
I agree with Indy, enough distractions in this thread.

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

Jazzykatt to play on your name your comments do not jive. I was suggesting Saint Mary's as an option, but not a solution. You obviously did not read my whole comments as I had some great points.

I suggested what has been suggested and that is expanding Hatchery Hill to make it one elementary school or you can make that an expanded middle school and move both elementary schools to where the middle school is. End of story.

Don - I believe Bordi has a daughter working at Liberty School. His wife was years ago a very crabby and nasty "head lunch lady" at Saint Mary's, because Bordi was the Home School Association President there as he sent his kids, until high school, to Saint Mary's and got his wife the lunch lady job and the woman never smiled and always looked cranky.

He was a nasty parent there as I had a friend who taught at Saint Mary's, and why are the people of Hackettstown not getting people to run against Bordi and his cronies to get them off the Board of Ed. and get Mango fired as Superintendent? That way the new Superintendent would not be allowed, per a contract set up with the BOE, to be the Great Meadows Superintendent. That would make the new Superintendent only focus on Hackettstown Schools, their ineffective administrators and their "so-called" population issues in the schools, which I do not believe for a minute. Bordi should take leadership lessons from the Mayor as she knows what she is doing and is a nice person. Bordi should work for Trump or Christie as he is built like them and nasty like them.

2 weeks ago

Re: School Regionalization

Ditto and double-down on the “I agree with Indy, enough distractions in this thread."

Yet I do wonder how, after reading “the people who aren't driving are mostly the growing illegal (H)ispanic (sp) population.” “I'm not of the mind to make things easier for people like that. Come to this country the right way and then you have a say in how things go. I don't know any people other than people like this in this area that don't have a car. You see these people walking all over town carting their laundry in carts, riding bikes, standing at the convenience store across from Stella G's looking for work, and they rent out all the apartments on main st that no one wants.” “I guess it's ok for these people to break the law” “They'll come here because of the convenience of schools being within walking distance and the train.” “You think their kids don't use our schools? The number of kids like that is just going to increase especially in a town where you have easy access to a train.” “I saw another site that said as of 2017 the illegal population is over 6% here. In another decade it'll be over 10% at the rate things are going.” “The majority of people here legally with school age children have at least one car.”

And if you don't see them around you in our community then you're blind.”

How after all of that, how could anyone ever miss the meaning here and conclude: “Metsman, it's all good. We've just learned that one doesn' have to follow the law if they don't want to!.”

First, Hispanic is not a race. But when one stereotypes to the point of prejudice leading to discrimination or even just plain ole antagonism solely directed against a specific group based on factors of racial, ethnic, religious, or gender identification because this person believes that “their kind” is a superior group, well, when that happens--- that’s being racist in my book. Whenever you decide that someone who looks a certain racial/ethnic/religious/etc. way will act a certain predetermined way, that’s just being stupid. When you discriminate or even just antagonize, that's racist. In my book, that trump’s the obvious conundrums of whether or not to follow a law, the need for immigration reform, or the copious availability of the financial benefits of our current undocumented workers within our economy.

Or, as usual, just ask these racists where do the replacement workers for our undocumented workers come from and do we pay them the same amount?

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

Does anyone know the answer to how many kids are sent to Hackettstown or how many Hackettstown residences make up the high school percentage

Is Hackettstown still a NJ choice school and are they still accepting enrollment in this program?

So all you're concerned with is you having to pay more for stuff. Yeah, I agree, that is stupid.

A society without rule of law is something none of us want to see come here, yet that's what is consistently being argued for when the "it's racist but we still need the slave labor to maintain our superior creature comforts" folks come out of the woodwork claiming that laws are for guidance only. Fact check our prison statistics and you'll soon see just how relevant laws can be.

Follow the damn law or don't. Just don't cry when enforcement actions are taken, or better yet stop with all the nonsense and change the stupid laws that created this "economic-greediness-sold-as-racial" issue in the first place.

justintime justintime
2 weeks ago

I'll call my lobbyist today and have him get right on it.

"stop with all the nonsense and change the stupid laws "

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

Luckily that is not all I am concerned about and therefore thinking so might be considered stupid....Matter of fact, once again you missed the point.

Society with rule of law, laws are guidance, crying over enforcement, economic greediness sold as racial issue..... I have not a clue what you are discussing.

All I know is that if you can't see that Mets has racism issues, or if you think the topic of "rule of law' is more germane as a reply to his racist rants, we are seeing two very different things from this.

As to the rest, come on. Do you really think I am arguing against the rule of law OR that laws are guidelines? Or once again are you using a air of non-specificity to see how many responders you can bait into your hyperbole ad absurdum? Prison stats for law relevancy metrics? Weird thinking for sure.

Keep em coming; we need the laughs.

Think its time for your defense of Confederate Statues in public places.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
2 weeks ago

Here comes SD with his typical liberal nonsense calling anyone who points a figure at illegals being in our town and using our schools as racist... When is the left going to stop calling everything racist... I have nothing against people who work hard and provide for their families, but its at the expense of american citizens who were born here or came to this country the right way. People like you complain about the expense of a $70 billion wall when we fork out $116 billion or so a year for illegal people.
Last year a NJ student cost around $20,000 per year. During the 2016/17 school year there were 1923 students here. If 6% of students are from illegal parents then that amounts to 115 students. Those students cost $2.3 million. Now the total could be more or less than that 6% but you get the idea. Taxpayers take the hit for that. And it contributes to overcrowding at the schools.

Just think, that 20K per year and the pension fund is still 49 BILLION in debt.
Yeah, that's billion with a "B."

Don't even worry about a few illegals. They are a drop in the bucket in comparison.

"Last year a NJ student cost around $20,000 per year."

Dodgeball Dodgeball
2 weeks ago

Was this all part of the reason Hackettstown High School students were asked to re register and prove residency?? Did the school find children who weren't suppose to be in our district? Or is the re registration process something they regularly do??

carols mom
2 weeks ago

It appears they had kids in HT schools that aren't supposed to be. And I think they said 8 or 9 more are still pending backup documents from those 8 or 9.

Quoting slide 20 from Mr. Hespe's presentation, "We recommend that both districts form a working group at the board and administrative level to develop a plan for moving forward that provides the policy and operational framework to further understanding of the educational, financial and facilities impact of the proposal on the communities and for making the many policy decisions that will be necessary"

Sounds like the BOE is "moving forward." Interestingly, the working group does not include the town councils from HT, Liberty, and Indy. So who is assessing the school tax impact on the different municipalities? Seems like a decision has been made and they are looking just to fill in the blanks.

Sure as he'll sounds like it Dan l.

Dan I, I have said that exact same thing in my prior posts on the GMR Survey thread,including my response to Mr. Bordi's post,where he basically admits that the decision has been made in favor of this. The issue here is how do GMR taxpayers stop Hackettstowns problems from becoming ours.

Good article:

Very good article and read the comments. Easy to understand why we are in this mess. The middle class taxpayer is screwed big time. Glad I am out of here at the end of March. The pain will be real people, especially with this new Governor who has promised to fix this mess which from what I read will be next to impossible without major reforms to the system. NJEA owns the politicians.


wanna buy a bridge? ur so incredibly gullible.

1 week ago

Ahhban excellently biased article From iNayNay and geoff the slammer. Where in the article does it mention the governors and politicians raising the pensions and their culpability for the current mess as well? Hmm?

Oh, it doesn’t, because it’s easier to blame the union than to accept responsibility for the governors that stole from the fund. They’re the real reason why we have this pension mess. That and healthcare costs. The honorable and true American would fight for lower healthcare costs because that would help all Americans. But we know that NayNay and Slammie go for pot shots rather than for real fixes.

Another cute attempt by them to make a point. Good try!

btownguy btownguy
1 week ago

You are living a selfish illusion butttownguy. Explain to me why the NJEA spends millions every year to influence politicians in NJ? For the children, LOL...

"At the state level, the union pushed for increasing pensions and benefits. Christie maintains that the average teacher contributes $195,000 over a 30-year career and gets back $2.6 million in benefits. The 2005 Benefits Review Task Force reached a similar conclusion."

Between retiree medical and pensions 2.6 million returned on average. How many private sector employees would like to turn 195k over 30 years in 2.6 million?

And then the 2001 9% increase that came out of nowhere, NOT FUNDED!

Corruption, corruption, corruption. Saints you are not. Just remember retired teachers, the next time you go to 7-11 that worker behind the counter has virtually no retirement and worse yet is paying for your excessive retirement compensation. Sorry, but the truth is that this is parasitic behavior enabled by a powerful union...

It’s the reduction of risk in investing,the cost of retiree medical and the fact that it is portable and often continues post Mortem that is the issue - it needs to be revamped I agree - however if you put that money in an index fund - eg VFINX in a 401K you could beat that return over 30 years.

Another issue is Whitman authorized municipalities to not match contributions for several years which led to this - you don’t have what you don’t invest.

I am in no way for continuing this system but there’s other factors to consider.

Excellent avoidance of any politics or gubernatorial culpability, as mentioned previously, iNayNay. I also noted your avoidance of any solution that would impact al people’s for your continued grudge against educators.

Another post from you with no solutions and only ranting. Rabble rabble!

btownguy btownguy
1 week ago

Why not start battering cops, firemen, judges, freeholders, assembly members, neighbors, friends, the water company, etc. ...... that should leave you on your pathetic, whining island ijay.

1 week ago

any pension, and all other benefits, are a promised part of compensation, that is used to determine whether a person takes a job or not. that's all jobs in all fields. if you doubled the total compensation to a teacher, you would likely get more people applying, and therefore likely provide a better education for "the kids." similarly, if you cut the total compensation in half, which could include eliminating pension and health benefits as an example, you would likely get less people applying and staying, which is likely to reduce the quality of the education provided to "the kids." this is how it works, everywhere and for nearly everyone.

Raise their comp to be in line with industry and push them to a matching 403B. Eliminate retiree medical and seek benefits packages that are also in line with industry with comparable deductible and shared costs. Keep costs down with a statewide benefits plan comparable to other exempt employees.. nah union would never go for it makes way too much sense.

The difference ken e is where the funds come from to sustain the promises: mandatory, through forced taxation, or voluntary through customer choice.

If taxes weren't mandatory we would not be having this discussion.

justintime justintime
1 week ago

Skippy, the 195k is accumulated of 30 years. Divide the 195k over 30 years but it will not be that amount evenly since you need to adjust over time as their salary increases. This means less money per year in the beginning and more at the end. Not so easy to get there returns. At the stock market long term average of 9.11% you won't get close...

I haven’t run the calculation but if you factor in employer match, the fact that it’s pre tax and reinvesting dividends I bet you come close

It doesn't come close.

Calculate it for a 30 year return.

Dividend reinvestment gives you a
1922.995% Return - 957.604% without

Your not factoring in raises , employer match and Dividend reinvestment. Good thing about math is that it’s still accurate regardless if you believe it or not.

And FYI I am agreeing with you and saying that we should go from a pension system to a tax deferred retirement system more in line with industry thereby saving taxpayer dollars and sharing risk of economic downturn with employees while allowing the possibility of potential higher reurns for individual employees.

That is just a return calculator based upon a static initial investment. Yes it calculates dividend reinvestment but you don't just calculate 195k and then its value 30 years from now.

The 195k would be "saved" as a small but increasing portion each year (actually each paycheck). Understand?

Pensions: I think HL pretty much agrees that we should move to a 401K like plan to be competitive with private industry.

While I agree, I often have lamented how I think this as a loss to America as first accepted in the private sector. The 401’s were touted as superior by our conservative friends since YOU can be the master of your own finances. Turns out conservatives were wrong; pension money managers generate more profit than individuals. In aggregate, we lost money on this deal.

What is a pension? A pension is a tax deduction, a loophole, a gift, that we give to business to create nest eggs for our old age. Thus, we all pay for every pension, whether private or public sector. That’s right, every time you use that certain commodity, part of that price goes right into my pension pocket. Want to end my pension too, ijay? Because I am “stealing” more than any teacher is. Don’t worry though, it got capped as part of the pension repeal/replace with 4o1ks movement we all submitted to.

What’s a 401K but another tax deduction we give to business to create nest eggs. This one puts the money management and investment risk in your lap instead of plan-paid professional money managers to reduce the corporation’s risk while still getting the tax deductions.

But the die is cast, American private sector workers have accepted the change, and with the change, of course, the “generosity” of the 401K has been downsized from the pension. Gallons to liters, you always pay more for getting less with any change like this.

Yet, ijay, none of this removes the pension IOU we have on the table. As much as it aggrieves you, it will be paid and Murphy’s goal to do so is not wrong. Christie had a similar goal; he just reneged.

What is wrong, as the article and you noted, is that Murphy is not combining this with state benefits reform for both pension and health. He is missing an opportunity to bundle it all together.

Your opinion piece from the Post was written by a far right-wing think tank. Not leaning right, but full tilt. Therefore, you can expect less than a 360 view of the topic with plenty of dog whistles, code words, and the like to spark your interest. It’s not that I think the facts are wrong. It’s just that the full story is not being told. NJEA is only part of the problem and railing against them because they are successful at their job is no help.

In the op ed, Christie’s references a 2005 pension calculation seem to be made by an unknown entity. I can find many folks repeating Christie’s claim; I can find no other source except Chris. Wanna buy a bridge?

So here’s the stuff: ijay’s research says: “At the state level, the union pushed for increasing pensions and benefits. Christie maintains that the average teacher contributes $195,000 over a 30-year career and gets back $2.6 million in benefits. The 2005 Benefits Review Task Force reached a similar conclusion.”
“Christie maintains…….” Need I say more. I can’t find confirmation, affirmation, or even a mention of this statistic anywhere.

I also can not find the “similar conclusion” in the 2005 BRTF report; Skippy --- you’re good at this --- can you find it?

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

Also left out of ijays right-wing op ed were the actual results of the 2005 report.

ijay --- this report seems pretty objective --- try it --- This report was for Codey, chaired by Murphy, go figure. Can you say irony? Right wing guy publishes Murphy report for support. Of course, the report recommendations were left out of ijay’s right-wing op ed.

But at HL, we have them ---- ijay, you support research also concludes, fyi:

I. Government Must Meet Its Obligation
II. Put a Stop to the Abuses and “Gaming” of the System
III. Structural Reform of Pension Benefits
Maintain the current defined benefit plan with changes but do not move to a defined contribution plan for public employees.
No pension credits for jobs that pay less than $5000 (current threshold is $1500). (Combined annual savings to state and local governments $3.7 million. This threshold should be periodically indexed for inflation.)
In order for pensions to reflect a slightly longer time horizon of a worker’s salary history, base pension on the average of the highest five years of work, not three years; or the highest 3 years, instead of the single highest year.
In recognition that life expectancy is increasing, people are working longer and the State is expected to face a “brain drain” due to the upcoming retirement of the baby boomers, raise the age at which an employee (PERS and TPAF only ) can retire without a reduction in benefits to sixty from fifty-five. (If enacted immediately and traditional retirement practices continue, annual savings could be as high as $175 million. However, this figure does not account for employees choosing to leave public service prior to the recommendations implementation. If the number of retirements is large enough, the savings could
be a more modest figure.)
Permanent moratorium on early retirement plans.
Extend moratorium on benefit enhancements put in place by Governor Codey.
IV. Structural Reform of Health Care Benefits
All current and retired employees should contribute to health care. (If State and local governments contributed 95% instead of the current 100% towards the base plan, annual savings would be $350 million. Again, these savings are only illustrative and any changes to health care cost sharing would have to be done through negotiations.)
Merge Traditional and NJ PLUS health care plans into a new Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) option. (Combined annual savings $104 million for State and local governments.)
Increase use of generic drugs to reduce prescription drug costs.
Obtain State’s own Pharmacy Benefits Manager (Estimated annual savings $27-$45 million.)
Immediately apply health care benefits changes negotiated by State in last contract to local employers and employees. ($23 million annual savings for local governments.)
Provide greater health care options for local negotiations.
V. Strengthen Process for Reviewing Benefit Enhancements

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

seems the problem is and will always be that you can see the school tax bill as a lump sum. if the state raised the sales tax and then used that to pay towns for their school costs, people would complain at the same level they complain about everything else, like funds to keep farms protected. I'm not suggesting we do that, because people choose the town they live in in part because of the school system and agree to pay those taxes, which are higher or lower. I'm suggesting that we are generally too focused on this slice because we see it, but don't focus on other things, some of which might be better suited to be fixed, because it's not easy to see the impacts directly.

SD, getting too verbose again. As a Libertarian I am for personal liberty. Beyond a certain point, taxation is predatory and infringes on my rights. Now in regards to your private pension no. Your company has already made steps by converting to 401ks and more importantly if its operating expense are too high it will go out of business, people will not pay for whatever product or service your former employer was involved with.

As mentioned before, public sector retiree medical is not protected and could be dropped at any time.

All about freedom. But there are those that want many aspects of our country to be Socialist...

In a civilized environment based on mutual respect of rights and the common good (law and order) there is less freedom than you think.

Where do you draw the line?

"Where do you draw the line?"

That's the age-old question, and the real reason for the never-ending disagreements. A question that does not have an answer, unfortunately, due to the fact that everyone sees the world through their own lenses of personal experience and beliefs.

Btw, this is why most libertarians look at things from the viewpoint of "do no harm" rather than trying to dictate the behavior of others (aka Republicans and Democrats) through the threat of force. IOW, do what you want as long as your actions bring no harm to others. In this context, picking winners and losers (who gets to reap the rewards of taxation through the force of government) comes down to the question "who gains at the expense of someone else, and who will be harmed by the action?".

So "where to draw the line" in reality means:
"What's more important to me: The benefit of the tax (whether real or perceived) or the harm that is brought to those who bear the responsibility of paying said tax?"
A very personal and individual question to answer.

justintime justintime
1 week ago

The question indeed. I can tell you that wherever the line is, it has been crossed...

IJAY ,a great article, you get 5 thumbs up from this reader for posting it. I urge everybody who wants to know exactly what is going on with our broken pension system to read this article. If I had the money I would buy a full page in the Star ledger and print this. It is something that they would never print. I consider myself fairly well informed and I did not know at least half of the facts printed in this article. Extremely well done!

As a Libertarian, I can't see the "liberty" in maintaining a system where 800k (current and retired public workers) trump the greater good of almost 9 million. And in fact, of the 800k a good number of retirees are living in other states.

In the words of Chris Christie "The have-nots paying for the haves."

Hammer, the solution is to pass this information on to people you know and let it spread from there. Of course the public workers will make false claims that they are being "singled out". Any time you criticize something, a common response is why are you singling me out, LOL.

Be sure to pass it along with the full information about past governors and politicians robbing from what was once a well-funded fund.

btownguy btownguy
1 week ago

Your NJEA could have pushed to transition to 401Ks in the 90s, and with 401Ks the match is paid every paycheck. Why not?

Could have transitioned in the 80's and 00's too...Now, bear in mind that I can't see anything but going to a 401k, but again, the employee is and for what? I mean, heck, by next year any new employees won't know what a pension is anyway....But for what?

Does the company (state) cut costs by going to a 401k? -- not really -- the cost benefits are minor for a 401k. It does reduce the risk for the company (state) of market downturns.

Does the employee gain by managing investments in 401k? --- not on average. Not only do money manager pick better investments, they also can select lower cost funds not available to you or I.

To the company or state, the cost advantage of the 401 over the pension is pretty minor. How much cost do you expect NJ to save with this move? Any ideas?

One reason we went to 401ks is because Republicans (and a lot of others) desired asset management; thought they could exceed the pro's. Nope. Another was the reduced risk for the company of having to weather a market downturn. Sure, a possibility, but we have come through them so far. But nonetheless here we are and probably should just keep going 401k and fix any issues there.

Now we come to the rub, and what you probably are really getting at but like our corporate masters, just can't say it. You want to go to 401ks commensurate with lowering the match; that's where the real savings to the state is. And that's the point: whether pension or 401k, once you change the match, you are paying less and that is a Union issue. And unless you think the Union is doing something illegal, it just has to be dealt with.

Frankly, if more of us had Unions, we'd still have our old pensions and you wouldn't need to kvetch about teachers to begin with.

Meanwhile, thanks for all the fish!!! As I bask in my iJay tax-supported, tax deferred, pension bliss waiting for my pension-like Social Security check, I am glad for the teachers who taught me how to roll my pension into a tax-deferred IRA where I do beat the average almost everyday. Just have to wait for a good tax year to begin pulling down those iJay tax supported deferred profits.... Oh wait, I think I smell a good year to escape taxes coming.....

So I agree they could have rolled to 401s for decades, should do it for convenience if nothing else, but we should recognize this alone does not save much cost. The basic concept of pension versus 401k is not really a difference to the corporation until you adjust the match rates. If the match formula is changed lower, that would reduce cost but that's for the bargaining table.

Frankly, with the corporation's annual-budget-driven short term focus, they missed the downside of the 401k and now are living with over 20% turnover, 75% of which is voluntary, as a way of life. Yes, we have basically made "outsiders" a way of life for American enterprise and now public service. Experience need not apply :>) This will accelerate as millennials enter the workplace with little allegiance to anything and less so to the new corporation due to benefits.

Unintended consequences.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

SD, too long again. The issue is that the 401k match (usually 100% of the first 3% and 50% from 3 to 6%) makes budgeting simple and we would not be having this discussion today other than the retiree medical.

However, the essentially 4.5% match along with the employee contribution would not equal the benefit they receive now.

This is how we save money, MARKET rate 401Ks (4.5% mentioned above). I am not advocating 401Ks matching the excesses of now on the taxpayer dime.

Part two is that retiree medical is cut immediately. Then, along with school reforms, property taxes can actually go down slightly every year...

IJAY, Trust me I passed this article on and even Emailed it to myself for future reference. I know how powerful this article is when i see strangerdanger bloviate endlessly trying to refute its obvious facts.

Another good one:

Yes, your taxpayer monies go to the NJEA union to then use to corrupt the democratic system...

The pathway to the wide use of 401Ks was passed in 1978 by a Democratic House, Senate and President (Revenue Act of 1978) and not Republicans and a few others. Not that it matters who. Also most in the private sector did not have pension plans as someone on here would like you to believe.

Has nothing to do with Democrats at the state level in NJ hijacked by the NJEA. Yes, a good thing at the federal level and still used today as you all know. In 1978 pensions were common at medium and large corporations. And then after 1978 many added 401Ks too with a match; then started phasing out pensions...

Yes, your taxpayer monies go to the NJEA union to then use to corrupt the democratic system...

Since you're such a believer in liberty, why don't you use your freedom of association to push back against the NJEA in an effective way? Just because they successfully used theirs doesn't make them corrupt. Using that logic, the same can be said about any lobbying group. Complaining on this forum is just preaching to the choir.

1 week ago

Beyond hammer's challenge of too many words, I appreciate the hammered praise for setting thammer's research library selection guidelines. say "I know how powerful this article is when i see strangerdanger bloviate endlessly trying to refute its obvious facts" seems to be a bit of a misread. I understand. Lots of words. Punctuation. Semi-colons. Tough stuff.

What I said, Hammer, about the article, Hammer, was "iJay's op ed that was penned by a hard right think tank. It is less than a full picture and full of dog whistle code words making folks like the hammer go Pavlov on us." woof, woof, slobber, slobber?

Then I noted technical similarities, differences, and now history, of the 401 versus the pension plans while actually agreeing with iJay on moving to the 401, perhaps for different reasons, but agreeing with iJay none the less.

Powerful for sure. Powerful enough to make you save the article.

Back to iJay and the real facts: "The issue is that the 401k match (usually 100% of the first 3% and 50% from 3 to 6%) makes budgeting simple" is not true. That may be the average but match rates and plans are all over the place. The one fact that remains true is that when shifting from pension to 401, most companies (states) rig the plan to be lower. In my case, we got tossed a lower base rate with a profit-sharing sweetener to the rate put on top. Sounds great until 2008 rolls around and you live on the lower base rate for a decade or so.....

And there is no reason that 401s and pensions can't have the same match and contribution.

"This is how we save money, MARKET rate 401Ks (4.5% mentioned above). I am not advocating 401Ks matching the excesses of now on the taxpayer dime." I have not a clue what you mean here. Perhaps you left out some words :>) I mean what is a MARKET rate 401k?

"Part two is that retiree medical is cut immediately." Man, you are one mean bustered. You really want to go out to a bunch of fixed income retirees, I mean who cares how much, the fact is their income is fixed. And you want to strip them of retiree medical. Good luck.

I hope you meant going forward, do not offer "retiree medical."

"Then, along with school reforms, property taxes can actually go down slightly every year..." Beyond your good name :>), do you actually have proof, evidence, or at least a back of the envelope idea of the savings? Or are you just whistling Dixie? Well, stop. Whistling makes hammer nervous :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

"Just because they successfully used theirs doesn't make them corrupt. Using that logic, the same can be said about any lobbying group."

Correct. Fighting for a "piece of the pie" is fine. But the argument is more about where and how the pie is created *before* it gets consumed by those lobbying for it. The "corrupt" angle stems more from what comes prior to those taking their pie piece.

Note the common theme of "taxation" when discussing this subject? What's rarely discussed is the reality that the true phrase is "forced taxation". Recognizing that, is it all that hard to believe that some folks might have a hard time digesting the PC talking points that ignore the reality of where the pie actually comes from?

justintime justintime
1 week ago

Back to the history lesson and a kumatata moment. You're right about the original law opening the door to 401s being adopted during Carter and a Dem Congress. However, like your one-sided tightly-whitey, rabid right, op ed that's hammer's new mantra, as fact selection, the original 1978 law is only part of the story and certainly was not designed to create 401s. That law just set up for employees to self-direct salary to a non-taxed fund. Designed for executives to hide personal over-the-top salary profits, some Johnson & Johnson CPA saw a bigger opportunity. Even he did not envision the 401 as a pension replacement. In 1981, under Reagan and the Republican Congress, the law that made 401K's possible throughout the corporation, including the necessary laws allowing automatic salary-funding pretax dollar process by corporations, was passed.

I think we all agree that when it comes to "personal responsibility," "deregulation," and "privatization" policies, Republicans, and Libertarians for that matter, rule. Would any self respecting Republican or Libertarian deny the superiority of the 401 over the pension due to being able to self-direct the asset investments? Of course not.

It just turns out that it was not true. They are wrong so far. On average, pension investments out perform 401 investments. Apples-to-apples, American employees are losing on this deal. That was the other point I have been trying to hammer home. Unsuccessfully of course.

Just saying.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

"What's rarely discussed is the reality that the true phrase is "forced taxation".

This is only true if you do not believe in the Constitution or that America is a land governed for and by the people.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
1 week ago

True is true.

The Constitution merely sets the rules when said force should be used; it doesn't deny the reality of what taxation is (the forceful taking of property).

Btw, this is also why so many want to "interpret", i.e. manipulate, the intention of the Constitution, to get themselves what they desire.

Rules are great when they work in your favor, not so much otherwise.

justintime justintime
1 week ago

while I'm obviously a defender of the teachers who I believe are owed what they were promised, and who I believe should be well compensated to educate our youth ... yes, the njea is a powerful force in politics. and their primary push is to make their union, not necessarily the individual teachers, better off. but this is no different than any other lobbying organization. gun laws are the way they are because of the nra. heck, our new federal tax plans were written by lobbyists. we've had senators outwardly state that if they don't vote for the proposed tax plan, they will not be reelected because of their donors. the key isn't to push against the lobbyists you disagree with, the way to incite change is to push against lobbying as a whole when you agree with their position anyway.

'However, like your one-sided tightly-whitey, rabid right". That says it all in a nutshell about you, everyone who disagrees with you are called names.

I didn't know I was a one-sided tightly-whitey, rabid person. As I have stated many times, I believe all politicians suck and are beholden to those that give them monetary support.

"This is only true if you do not believe in the Constitution or that America is a land governed for and by the people."

This is no longer true. The founders original intent was a rotation of representation -- politics was not supposed to be a profession at the federal level. Look at Trenton, a bunch of swamp things now backing Murphy because the most powerful union in NJ is backing him. Unlike, the most powerful union at the federal level, they were unable to unseat Sweeney; this is probably the only silver lining in our current political climate...

Sorry Kb, after a week of the code names, this so called “socialist” amongst other called names boils over here and there. Having a thin-skinned week, I hear it happens to many world leaders. Unintended consequences… You are right, sorry. Replace with "Republicans and many Libertarians."

“This is no longer true.” All righty then. I guess we have reached Trumpian nirvana; tear it up, tear it up…..who needs that stinkin Constitution, he can't be tried for obstruction, he's the top cop. Justice is rotten, Feeb in tatters, Flynn got abused, lock her up, goodbye national monuments, hello coal.....

“The Constitution merely sets the rules when said force should be used; it doesn't deny the reality of what taxation is (the forceful taking of property).” Didn’t your mother not tell you not to not use a double negative. Of course, I “doesn’t deny” something if it isn’t mentioned in the first place? What I said was if you think taxation is force then you don’t believe in the will of the people as exercised via our Constitutional laws.
There’s lots of things not said in the Constitution. It does not prove denial of that not mentioned.

And a good Captain O moment “Btw, this is also why so many want to "interpret", i.e. manipulate, the intention of the Constitution, to get themselves what they desire. Rules are great when they work in your favor, not so much otherwise.” Truer even to the casual observer.
But if everyone believes in the Constitution, then taxation is not theft by force, is not theft.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
7 days ago

This thread has really gone off track. For those of you who are concerned about what the title of this thread is all about. The Hackettstown BOE meeting is Wednesday 12/13/17 at 7:00P.M.

Agree Hammer. Let's get back to the immediate issue at hand. And to repeat...Quoting slide 20 from Mr. Hespe's presentation, "We recommend that both districts form a working group at the board and administrative level to develop a plan for moving forward that provides the policy and operational framework to further understanding of the educational, financial and facilities impact of the proposal on the communities and for making the many policy decisions that will be necessary"

Sounds like the BOE is "moving forward." Interestingly, the working group does not include the town councils from HT, Liberty, and Indy. So who is assessing the school tax levy impact on the different municipalities under each of the scenarios being evaluated? Has anyone prepared a pro forma budget for each of the scenarios?
Seems like a decision has been made and they are looking just to fill in the blanks.

Dan I, Mango set this up for the one choice he wanted all along. For those of you that do not know,the video of the meeting held on 11/21 has not been posted on either boards web site. The excuse given is because the live streaming went down after 1 hour,which I think is a bunch of bull. They were recording this with up to date equipment which has nothing to do with the live streaming. I am asking any tech savvy people out there to comment on this being possible or true.

The video is now posted on Hackettstown's B.O.E. web site. However, only the first 56 minutes of the meeting is available. The most important part of the meeting,the question and answer session,is not shown. The Hackettstown B.O.E meeting is this Wednesday, December 13 7:00 P.M. at the High School. I would suggest all those concerned attend.

hammer hammer
1 day ago

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