Councilman calls out fellow members for not supporting school system

The goal of any community should be to work together to build something greater than what we could do on our own. One of our community endeavors is providing for and supporting the education of our children. John Dewey once said that, “There is a compact that exists between community and its public school. It is a promise that the school will teach every child that passes through its doors – poor children, affluent children, children with disabilities and children that show great academic promise.”

The current South River Council majority, led by Council President Shawn Haussermann, has made it a priority to wage war on our public school system and use our children as leverage in support of their own political agenda. Their assault began on Jan. 23 when Haussermann led his party in a vote to take $500,000 that was earmarked for the schools and transfer it the borough’s general fund by deferring the school tax payment.

On June 6, Haussermann continued his campaign against the schools when he wrote an e-mail to the South River Board of Education in which he reportedly threatened to charge the schools for the use of borough parks and fields.

Finally, the Democratic-led council most recently assailed the public schools when they initially refused to have a vote on a resolution that would have provided electric demand charge relief to the public schools. When a vote was finally held on July 17, the vote came down party lines with Hausermann, Ryan Jones, Jack Alai and Julie Meira all voting “no” to a resolution that had the potential to save a teaching position and reduce class sizes.

While saying “no” to the children of South River they said “yes” to the dogs of South River by moving forward with a Dog Park. It is time we revisit our priorities.

John Sapata
South River Borough Council