How does the Board of Education function?

Your Board of Education, consisting of nine members, is the educational representative of the people of Teaneck and the State of New Jersey and is responsible to both. Each year the people of Teaneck select, by popular vote on a non-partisan ballot, three members who are as directly responsible to our citizens as the members of the Township Council. It is our opinion that the success of our present independent form of municipal and educational organizations is directly attributable to their respective responsible and sensitive relation to popular initiative and public opinion. In the former instance, the organization is responsive to the municipal interests of the Township; and in the latter instance, to the educational interests of the Township. A continuance of this success will be assured as long as the independent relationship of these two types of organizations are maintained. The unique function of education in our democratic society requires that its control and administration be set apart from the municipal branch of government, which so commonly is changed in personnel and in policy by the votes cast at a single election. The suggestion is not that the schools be removed from the control of the people, but rather that the people be enabled to act directly in this most important phase of government.

Public education is of more vital importance than any of the interests represented by the ordinary departments of municipal government. It deals with the welfare of the whole State and is recognized as a function, of the State. It is unlike the improvement of streets, parks, or police protection, in that its effects project themselves further into the future. It may not be postponed, as better services in other fields may be, because the children must receive proper training now, if at all; and the preservation of order in a democracy depends upon it. Sound business and government recognize that no intermediary authority should be permitted to stand between, either the people and the Board of Education, or between the Board of Education and the State. When such is the case, we frequently find educational standards lowered by political interference and coercion; diversion of school funds for other than school purposes; and dictated curtailment of budget requirements essential to carry forward constructive school policies and an efficient educational program.

Your Board of Education realizes that the people of Teaneck WANT GOOD SCHOOLS and therefore, each year it presents, for your approval, a school budget, which is a fiscal interpretation of the services the schools desire to render, and represents the educational offering which the Board establishes for your boys and girls--a program and facilities which the people expect for their children. It is significant that Boards of Education in New Jersey are limited, by law, both in the amount of money they can borrow (legal debt limit) and the amount that can be levied by taxes. Your Board of Education, operating as a separate corporation of the Township, has been enabled to provide the best quality of educational service without extravagance. Your attention is directed to the topic of "School Costs" found on page 5 of this booklet, so that you may note that the high standards of instruction within your schools and the State-wide recognition of our progressive educational program have been promoted at a cost consistently LOW among the comparable communities of Bergen County.


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