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Editor, Bridgeton News, Bridgeton, New Jersey. Printed on April 14, 2006

Dear Editor:

I ask the voters of Downe Township to turn out in large numbers to vote "NO" on the Downe School Budget this April 18th.

Although the increase in Downe is not as large as in some county school districts, I am concerned that the Board of Education and certain people within the administration are paying attention to the wrong issues. Over the last two months I reviewed many pages of documents regarding computers and technology issues within the Downe district. What I found is quite disturbing.

Over the last 7 or 8 years, I have worked on dozens of computer systems for local Downe residents. For some reason, the Downe Board of Education is not hiring me for their computer networking and related technical requirements. Instead, they are paying a consultant from Cape May County more than double what I charge all Downe residents and the school board.

Something is not right with the fiscal perspectives of the Downe Board of Education. The BOE came to the Township Committee just two years ago crying poor and asking for $50,000 to help fund an addition to the school building. Much to the dismay of then Mayor Chester Riland, many residents of Downe, including my daughter, her mother, other parents of students and myself carried hand-made signs asking that the Township Committee give the money to the school. Very much to the credit of Mr. Riland and the committee they agreed to provide the money.

Now, public documents indicate that the Board of Education had more than $150,000 in surplus which was applied to various budgets to keep tax increases low.

What's is going on? Did they not really need the $50,000? Why are they paying more than twice my consulting rate for technology services? Maybe we can get some answers during the joint meeting of the School Board and the Township Committee if Downe voters reject the budget.

Vote NO on April 18th.

Check out my website over the next few days for updates and much greater detail regarding Downe school and township related issues.

Bernie Sayers

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