Signs and school budgets

How people vote on school budgets on Tuesday probably is more interesting than how they vote for candidates.

In Roxbury, for instance, there are many signs around town urging that voters “Back Christie” and turn down the budget. The reference was to the governor’s statement last week that voters should oppose school budgets in districts where teachers have not taken a wage freeze. That would be most of them.

The “Back Christie” signs have the proper notation that they were paid for by “Friends of Castriotta and Rogers.” That would be school board members Maureen Castriotta and Chris Rogers.

There are also signs around urging a “Yes” vote on the budget. But they carry no disclaimer. That is illegal and the district,or whomever is putting them up, should know better. Look, it ain’t a capital offense, but it is wrong just the same. The public should know who is putting them up.


About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

6 Responses to Signs and school budgets

  1. The vote “YES” signs are not necessarily illegal just because they carry no “paid for” disclaimer. If they were not put up by a campaign committee subject to ELEC regulations and the cost of the signs do not exceed $1,200, they do not qualify as an “independent” expenditure as well. Therefore the signs may not be subject to ELEC disclosure requirements. I have reviewed this with ELEC lawyers in the past and they have confirmed this to be true.

  2. ChubbyPaul says:


  3. P says:

    If the district paid to put up the signs, that would be illegal. My guess is that it is a PTO or other school support organization that’s paying for the signs.

    As far as reporting, this from the ELEC Compliance Manual for Political Committees seems to be the applicable language – “The “Compliance Manual for Political Committees” is only applicable to political committees. A political committee is a group of two or more individuals, corporations, associations, societies, firms, companies, or partnerships acting jointly which raise or expend $2,100 or more in an election to promote the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate or to aid or promote the passage or defeat of a public question.”

    Unless they have inundated Roxbury with signs, I doubt they went over the $2,100 threshold for reporting.

    It’s also interesting that for Public Questions, the sky’s the limit on contributions – “A political committee which is organized to aid or promote the passage or defeat of a public question in an election may accept a contribution without limit from a contributor. A political committee which is organized to aid or promote the passage or defeat of a public question in an election may make contributions without limit to another political committee or to a continuing political committee.”

    You could still call the BOE president and/or the Superintendent and ask them what group is putting up the signs. I’m sure it isn’t a big secret.

  4. Ken Bank says:

    Usually these budget issues are part of a bigger power struggle between school board members. The minority on the board is opposed to what the majority are doing so they want the budget voted down. And it has little, if anything, to do with teachers.

    Of course Chrisite will roar and beat his breasts like King Kong while he takes credit for every school budget defeat. But then he also better be prepared to take blame for the political fallout when popular programs and extra-curricular activities are eliminated.

  5. Kevin Nedd says:

    Anonymous monikers are boring

  6. P says:

    KB – When the budget fails Christie will simply remind voters that if the teachers had agreed to a freeze, most, and possibly all, of their lost jobs and school programs could have been saved.

    The NJEA wants everyone to think that adding back the “millionaires” tax will solve all our problems, but the revenue raised is a fraction of what’s needed to close the state’s budget gap, and would continue to drive the wealthy out of NJ.

    The rate of the increase in spending needs to be arrested, and since most of our spending is on employee salaries and benefits, that’s what needs to be addressed first, second and third.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: