Frequently Asked Questions about the Collingswood Stadium Project [Opinion]

Wouldn’t having a new Stadium help our property values?

 

Not really; it’s a commonly used argument failing to acknowledge the reality of how real estate works. In terms of home values, it’s more about the quality of the schools people live adjacent to then the quality of a town’s football stadium. When is the last time a real estate agent trying to sell you a home talks about how great a town’s football stadium is as opposed to telling you about the quality of the school nearby your house?

 

Don’t we want a new stadium?

 

Something clearly has to be done as the stadium is in need of repair, but this doesn’t necessarily mean we need a totally new stadium; there are always options to consider.

 

What are alternatives to a new stadium?

 

Understand this: the stadium needs to be repaired. According to the Engineer’s Report, it would cost $1.9 million to repair the current stadium, leaving approximately $15  $11million (out of the total $17 $13 million in the bond – assuming we vote for this total amount). But perhaps rather than spend all of the money on a totally new stadium, why not re-allocate money to schools needing repair and expand programs and/or teaching staff? Why not fix the existing stadium, re-surface the fields for better playing conditions, and spend the bulk of the money on hiring more teachers, insure that we have nurses for all of the schools, fixing and/or improving our school facilities and expanding our curriculum – such as offering more language classes or more computer / programming instruction (just to name a few options)? Or maybe we want to simply stick to fixing the stadium and spend only $1.9 million as opposed to spending $17 $13 million? Why do we have to spend money beyond just fixing the stadium? The choices are ample and worth considering.

 

Aren’t all of our schools excellent?

 

No. In fact, several Collingswood elementary schools are ranked in the lower performing 1/3 of schools statewide (talk about taking a hit against home values)! To learn more and see for yourself, click here at the New Jersey Department of Education’s website: https://rc.doe.state.nj.us

 

So what if the test scores are bad; there’s more to schools than just test scores.

 

Test scores directly impact on a schools’ educational ranking. Many outside agencies and entities rely on school rankings to measure such things as home values and the quality of a neighborhood where a school functions. Like it or not, state performance scores also play a vital role in the administration and operation of schools along with determining the amount of funding and quality of education your children will ultimately be eligible for. If we want a better community, we gotta have better schools.

 

 

But what of the quality of our sports team?

 

Sports are vital to student development and there’s no good reason to break down sports activities. But spending $17 $13 million on a new stadium only focuses on a small percentage of students who would benefit from this, at the cost of the majority. Improving the existing facilities may be a wiser move, and one that everyone would benefit from, while keeping our options open for future changes.  

 

What does timing have to do with anything?

 

We’re now entering a very uncertain phase in taxpayer-paid educational funding. We can expect to see major cuts in Federal and State funding. Now is the time to be become creative in our approaches while controlling our spending. With the federal push toward implementing school vouchers and the cuts in school nutritional programs as well as tremendous funding reductions for other programs (such as ESL and Special Needs programs), spending a significant amount on building a new football stadium and new administrative offices at this time may not be a wise usage of limited funds.

 

Only $35 $16 a month? For some, this represents phone service, gas for the car or reading books, supplies and payments for school trips and special programs that aren’t funded by the schools. Some folks find it hard enough as is to make ends meet, and making this ‘simplistic’ kind of assertion belittles folks trying to keep things together as expenses keep on rising. Remember: this is isn’t just for a year – this will be $320 $200 a year for 20 years per household. Keep in mind we’re also looking at a $95 Board of Education tax increase just for this year – and we can expect more tax increases over the coming years. What happens when federal and/or state funding is cut back and we start losing programs that we’ve come to rely on or take for granted – and then we’re faced with even more and larger tax increases? And, as noted by the Superintendent of schools, Dr. Oswald, during a recent public Board meeting, the coming year promises to bring about reduction in school aid while coming cost increases – which begs the question: can we afford a Taj Mahal now when we should be thinking instead something more modest while protecting what programs we do have now?

 

Measure twice – cut once.

 

Sometimes it’s wiser to settle for a Subaru than to pay for a Bentley.

 

For More Information Including The Tax Calculator CLICK HERE

 

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William L

In addition to possessing a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) along with a Project Management Professional (PMP) and several other certifications, William Lutz has over 27 years of government service at the Local, State and County levels inclusive of staff management and program administration. Mr. Lutz is no stranger to education, having served as a volunteer Founding Board Member of the nationally recognized Acelero Head Start Early Education for Camden / Philadelphia for over 11 years. He has extensive professional background includes non-profit management, and his work with grants development and management is notable, including serving (upon request) as a Peer Grants Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Justice, reviewing and monitoring federal grants and awards. Mr. Lutz is also a writer for The Great War series (http://www.thegreatwar.tv) and a part time Adjunct Professor for the Camden County College English Department and guest lecturer on History, while also serving as a Grants and Contract Specialist for Research Administration at Temple University Health Systems.