Regionalization- "3rd Graders Don't Vote"

The good news is the Highlands Borough Council held a terrific meeting last night giving everyone the opportunity ask whatever questions they wanted about what’s happening next or what could happen or what can’t happen on the school regionalization questions.

The bad news is only about 50 residents, though they came from all three towns, made it to the Community Center to learn about it. Can’t help but wonder whether more people would have gotten educated and been able to ask their own questions if the meeting was virtual or hybrid..

Lots of praise for Mayor Carolyn Broullon for handling the meeting in a highly professional way, though, nipping it in the bud when it appeared there would be outbursts or two people talking at the same time or trading any barbs at each other. The great thing was it happened early in the meeting; the mayor took an immediate step to let it be known it wouldn’t be tolerated, and the rest of the meeting was quiet, orderly and informational!

Also liked the way the mayor gave a brief history of when and how often regional plans have been discussed for the Highlands, Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright. There are those of us who remember when Hudson was built and the question of Sea Bright was part of it then, more than half a century ago.

Liked Atlantic Highlands Councilman Brian Boms’ questions about whether Shore Regional could sue Sea Bright for getting out of their district’s school, but liked attorney Vito Gagliardi’s answer better. The new state law signed into effect in January is designed to negate any such suit, but of course you cannot ever guarantee someone won’t sue ..for this or any other reason.

Also loved Mr. Gagliardi’s quick thinking response when another resident, a member of the Henry Hudson Board, started talking figures and said it’s so easy a third grader could figure it out, to which the attorney politely and quietly said that “third graders don’t vote” and continued his explanation of the costs and ratios.

The best news is that in the end, it appears that even if that regional school study isn’t finished until May, and if Atlantic Highlands acts after reviewing that report, there would still be time for Atlantic Highlands to pass a resolution asking for it to be on the ballot and getting it up for a November vote…here’s an idea….so that all the residents of all three towns can have their say on what they think is the best solution.


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