As anyone who has attended a Passover seder knows, Four Questions (Mah Nishtanah) are asked during the reading of the Haggadah, the ancient narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. According to tradition, the questions are read by the youngest child at the seder table.
Starting with: Why is this night different from all other nights?
Last night, the second night of Passover, the Hoboken Board of Education met and that same question hung in the air. On the table: a $57.8M proposed budget amidst a highly contentious School Board election. Why was that night going to be different from all others?
I spoke to the Lord G-d, who using the words "miracle" and "miraculous", asked me to relay the following:
In spite of a $2.4M reduction in state funding next year, the BoE's budget avoided any staff cuts, with no negative impact on Hoboken students. And, at just under $58 million, the proposed budget represents a $4.1 million, or seven percent, decrease from the 2009-2010 budget! Can you say "Jesus Christ, what a savings!" Jesus was one of us, you know.
Got that? The proposed budget will reduce expenditures by approximately $2 million and total spending by just over $4 million without cutting school programs or firing any staff! Don't you feel like belting out a tune from "Fiddler on the Roof"? No, not "Anatevka", the other one.
What may be more miraculous is the praise that's been heaped upon the Kids First majority School Board by none other than N.J. Commissioner of Education Bret Schundler!
In the words of Interim Superintendent Carter in last night, "Just yesterday as a matter of fact, while speaking directly with Mayor Bret Schundler, the Commissioner of Education, who has praised this Board for the budget which we advertise and was very complimentary with respect to our settlement with the Hoboken School Employees Association".
What a buzzkill that must have been for Team Real Results. Kind of like the person you're in bed with moaning someone else's name.
So there's your answer to the One Question.
Happy Pesach, y'all!