Half full? Or half empty?
Well, on the one hand, last night’s "Schools are Not the Culprits!" education funding reform forum in Glen Ridge did attract public officials from Summit, Ramsey, Mountain Lakes, Ridgewood and Livingston.
On the other hand, very few members of the public showed up. Nor did any state legislators. And — let’s face it — a Boston Tea Party it was not.
True, property taxes in the state of New Jersey — and particularly in Baristaville — are outrageously high. At issue is the fact that schools in New Jersey are funded by property taxes, rather than through state income tax.
But if you went to the forum last night, you were subjected to the arcane provisions of something called S-1701, a bill passed last summer to try to reduce property taxes on the backs of local school boards. In less than five minutes, you got to hear about "bank caps." Within 30 minutes, all your problems with insomnia were solved. After an hour, you were ready to write a personal check to send every child in New Jersey to private school, if only everybody would shut up about "fund balance minimums."
The problem, as the Barista sees it, is that you can’t start a taxpayer’s revolution if the first plank in your platform is "Promote Informed Decision-Making: Data Resource & Analysis."
Want a revolution? Declare snow days in October, withhold report cards, have fourth-graders march on Trenton, burn books, burn bras, anything. But don’t bore us.