Reduction in state aid will have a negative effect on Freehold Regional High School District

By Margo Greenbaum

In recent weeks I have read articles containing the following statement: “New Jersey has adopted a plan to reduce the Freehold Regional High School District’s state funding by 50 percent over several years. In essence, Senate bill 2 (S-2) reflects the state’s belief that the taxpayers of the district are undertaxed by nearly $20 million, and that the state will no longer subsidize communities which are not paying their ‘local fair share’ – an arbitrary calculation we will continue to challenge. Even if tax levy increases were maximized under the state imposed cap, S-2 will generate annual budget deficits that will require meaningful cuts to the programs and services that have distinguished this district in New Jersey.”

I think it is important to hear the opinions of people who work in the schools and parents
who pay the taxes for those schools, but the most important voice to hear is the
student’s voice; the people’s education that will be changed and who will not have the same opportunity as past generations.

During my time at Marlboro High School, I took every opportunity I could. I had the
chance to become part of a sports team, to be student president, to create my own club, and so much more. But my favorite thing to do was to see what everyone else was doing.

I would watch videos created by kids in digital media, buy a keychain made in wood shop, and I got to see pictures from cooking competitions different clubs would participate in. What I loved the most about my high school was the wide variety of opportunities given to us as students.

The FRHSD is made up of six schools with about 12,000 students whose futures are affected by the four years they have while they are in the district. Between these six schools a student can figure out what he or she wants to do with their future.

If the district loses state aid, kids will be forced to take the basic academic classes and not look forward to going to school.

I had friends in school who hated going to math class, but would never miss their wood shop or digital media class because it had to do with their interests. They were able to
make their agenda for the class and that made it more enjoyable. It also made them want
to succeed.

If the district loses money which would force cuts, the district will see numbers in disciplinary reports go up and also dropouts. What makes this district so amazing is that it has such a vast variety of classes and opportunities; a student can find almost anything that relates to their interests.

You might be wondering why I care about S-2 because I graduated and I was not in
a specialized program. I attend Stockton University with the aspiration to become a
teacher and one day an administrator. An educator in the FRHSD opened so many
doors for me.

As I read about this plan I got worried for the first-graders I was a counselor to during the summer. I got worried they would not have the same opportunities as me.

I thought about my future students who might not have the opportunity to take classes that inspired me and shaped my future, such as “We The People.” I worry that S-2 will affect the lives of  thousands of students, but even worse, affect their futures for the worse.

I was born in a third world country where education is inadequate and I did not get the
chance to learn the ABCs until I was 4 and moved to America. The best thing that has
happened to me since I was adopted was being a student at Marlboro High School and
every opportunity the district gave me.

It is because of the people and opportunities in that school that I am the person I am today and have my future planned.

The preamble in the U.S. Constitution states, “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity… ”

If S-2 continues with state aid reductions as planned, the blessings for our posterity are not secure because students will not get the same opportunities they deserve and that can make or break them as a person and their future.

Please do not take money away from a place that shapes the future leaders of our world and realize that if your child went to that school you would not support this plan either. S-2 will make schools take a step backward, instead of in the right direction.

Margo Greenbaum, 19, of Marlboro, graduated from Marlboro High School in 2018. She is attending Stockton University, Galloway Township, and pursuing a career in education.