MontClairVoyant: Our ‘Old School’ Town Wants New Money for Schools

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Why was the Board of Education initially hesitant to start the process of trying to raise lots of money for much-needed fixes for our town’s mostly old school buildings?

Sincerely,

Not Pro-Procrastination

Perhaps the BOE wanted to first see Harriet Tubman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Actually, some members of the appointed board wanted to wait until voters decided, in a referendum this November, whether or not to switch to an elected BOE that would mean a different capital-budget process.

Sincerely,

Ballad of the Ballot

That referendum is more than two months away, and of course the month of November could abandon 2021 to join with November 2022 and November 2023 to form a November super team.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Anyway, the BOE passed a resolution August 16 for an infrastructure bond that would go to the Board of School Estimate and then the Township Council for approval. Great that the BOE didn’t wait?

Sincerely

Bond, Not James Bond

As Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis and others have said, waiting would NOT have been good — though waiting on tables is an honorable profession. I’ll have The Fourth Question Special.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

An excellent choice, sir. Fresh from the column kitchen, today’s fourth question: Why would waiting have been a bad idea?

Sincerely,

Food for Thought

For one thing, Montclair residents might vote to keep the board one of the few appointed BOEs in New Jersey. That happened before in 2009, 44 BC, and 30,000 years ago — the time of “The Clan of the Cave Board.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Jean M. Auel’s novel is “The Clan of the Cave BEAR,” you idiot. Aren’t low interest rates another reason to get lots of infrastructure stuff moving?

Sincerely,

The Clan of the Cash Cow

Ironic that there’s high interest in low interest rates. Reminds me that homeowners just north of Edgemont Park drive on Parkway and park in driveways yet somehow manage to live normal lives.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Also, with the current scarcity of labor and materials, isn’t it best to get various capital projects going ASAP?

Sincerely,

Shortage of Labor Day

As The Dave Clark Five sang, “No Time to Lose.” A song on that same album was “Bits and Pieces,” which could describe some Montclair school buildings if work isn’t done on them fairly soon.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

That’s a huge reason why I’m glad the BOE didn’t wait until after the referendum to start the process of raising lots of school-improvement money. What is needed for those old buildings?

Sincerely,

Glenfield of Dreams

Better ventilation (especially in the current COVID era), structural repairs, etc. And a beanie hat with a propeller atop every school roof.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Isn’t that headgear meant for clowns? I think YOU’RE the one who should wear that hat — and clown shoes, too.

Sincerely,

Clown Car Chauffeur

Sheesh — I write for Baristanet, not Clowning Wear Daily.

 

 

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

 

 

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s put this underwhelming iteration of the Board aside.
    If this appointed Board caved to public pressure, how would an elected board be any different?
    We know this appointed Board can stand up to public pressure, could an elected board?

    Having lived here for many, many decades, I have seen unresponsive boards and responsive boards. I have seen both types squander millions and millions and millions to appease parents with narrow self interests and a For Sale sign at the ready before the high school yearbooks are printed. We are diverse, but we clench to the defining attributes of a progressive bedroom community – key among them is trading financial accountability to the community for subsidizing progeny.

    PS: might want to check song credits…and lyrics. And wouldn’t it be more pc to have retitled WWD to something like Women’s Clowning Daily.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Frank.

    Both appointed and elected BOEs can indeed “cave” to public pressure (bad) or respond to public pressure (good) — depending on the issue. But I think elected BOEs are more democratic, even as there are risks involved with them (such as lots of big money backing certain candidates).

    Montclair’s public schools — 10 of the 11 many decades old, and some with sections dating back more than a century — need upgrading. So, in the case of the BOE’s August 16 bond vote, I think it was a matter of responding rather than caving. Yes, it’s going to be expensive, but ultimately more “expensive” to Montclair if school buildings are not upgraded.

  3. Dave,

    I do applaud you for bringing DC5 into the piece. I appreciated your nod to Mid-Century Modern, but I worry Montclairions of today doesn’t know the period and missed your reference.

    A smattering of us think it is sufficient historic tribute to keep a Tensor lamp, some cute, enameled, colorful coffee tables and some song tracks like those you mention. Myself? I lean towards The Venture’s Walk-Don’t Run (in general and in school bonding) closing with a little shot of urgency with their Hawaii 5-0. Anyway, I just found out our Public Library on South Fullerton is considered a somewhat decent, not too spoiled example of Mid-Century Modern. I wouldn’t know because Mid-Century Modern comes after this town’s periods of historic significance. I also didn’t know that 544 Bloomfield Ave – the Faubourg Restaurant – was, some say, its architectural antecedent. A little too clean, overly minimalistic lines & materials for my taste – but, the HPC will approve punching a hole in the streetscape facade…but, retain the night depository that does date from the earlier period of significance.

    Confused? So are they.

  4. Thank you, Frank! I realize The Dave Clark Five reference was rather old, but the band’s “Glad All Over” album was one of the first I bought as a kid, so it has stuck in my mind. Re The Ventures band you comically referenced, they did have some great instrumentals.

    I’m not a big fan of most mid-20th-century architecture, but the main library building is pretty nice overall. With the new development and the building revisions in/near downtown, that area of Montclair has become an architectural hodge-podge. At least the inconsistency is consistent. 🙄

Comments are closed.