In an ongoing effort to lasso Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan into the miasma of local School Budget issues and weaken her with Bergen blowback against Gov. Chris Christie, Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney used Department of Education chief Brett Schundler’s budget address today as a springboard to go after Donovan.
“Based on what the Governor said when he came in to office, Bergen County’s school districts were prepared to lose up to fifteen percent of their state aid,” McNerney fumed. “Instead, Bergen County lost 41% of its education aid, representing $102 million of the $820 million cut state-wide. We have 30 districts receiving no aid at all under the Governor’s proposed budget. The cuts Bergen is receiving to fill the state’s budget deficit will lead to larger classrooms, program cuts, the elimination of afterschool programs, and huge local property tax increases across the County.”
Delivering the coup de grace, McNerney lamented his Republican challenger’s aquiesence in the Christie school aid tamp down.
“Ms. Donovan and her running mates refuse to stand with Bergen Democrats for county taxpayers against this assault on Bergen County’s education system,” the incumbent exec. said. “Our kids’ educations should not be a partisan issue.”
Donovan took the Democrat’s jab in stride, firing back at what, in her judgment, is an easy target.
“I find it ironic that Dennis McNerney is talking about other people’s budgets when for all of the eight years he has been County Executive I believe he always has been late with his, and every year the budget is getting bigger and bigger,” Donovan said.
McNerney still hasn’t released his 2010 budget, which was due by the end of January.
“Speaking of schools, I am surprised that Dennis has failed to take action to clean up the messes he has allowed to happen in the schools – he does oversee-Bergen Academies and Bergen Tech,” Donovan said. “The financial abuses that Dennis allowed there are shameful, as described in the report of the Inspector General.”