Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No excuse for layoffs at Brookdale

Vin Gopal is chairman of the Monmouth County Democrats and is the author of this article that appeared in yesterday's Asbury Park Press:

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has gutted funding to Brookdale Community College three years in a row. It’s plain and simple: What was once the educational pearl of Monmouth is now in jeopardy as a direct result of the one-party-controlled freeholder board.

A recommendation made last week by the college’s Board of Trustees (most of whom are selected by the all-Republican freeholder board) announced a plan for 210 layoffs of faculty and staff. This comes after the third year in a row of significant cuts by Monmouth County’s freeholder board to Brookdale’s funding.

Monmouth County’s funding has dropped an astounding 23 percent in just three years — more than $6 million. The college is expecting another $1.5 million cut in county funding for 2015, a 6 percent drop in a year. Brookdale officials are expecting funds raised by tuition and fees to increase by 2.5 percent next year and enrollment has dropped 12 percent in just three years.

The freeholders claim that money for Brookdale is not there. That is simply not true. Instead of properly funding Brookdale Community College, the board has allowed $6.5 million taxpayer money, annually, to be wasted on managing two county-run nursing homes. Government-funded nursing homes are a thing of the past and counties including Mercer, Sussex and Salem have all successfully sold their own to competent private buyers, all of whom have done an excellent job operating them with the same quality of care.

Government used to run these types of care centers in the 1960s and 1970s, but we do not need to be in the nursing home business in 2014. We need to be providing students and their parents with affordable educational options, especially at a time when the importance of a college degree is increasing faster than ever. Monmouth freeholders have the opportunity to do this and protect those jobs at Brookdale.

This past election, in a big landslide year for national Republicans, Monmouth County residents narrowly voted to re-elect Monmouth County Republican Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich with 53 percent of the vote. This should be a wakeup call to county Republicans, not a moment of celebration. County Republican freeholders usually win Monmouth by larger margins. Residents are realizing, more and more, that county Republicans are responsible for our high taxes and waste.

There is no Republican or Democratic way to fix a pothole. There is a right way and a wrong way. The Monmouth County Democrats have taken the position that privatizing the nursing homes because it is what is right for the 630,000 residents of this county.

The solution for Brookdale is crystal clear. The All-Republican freeholder board can privatize the nursing homes and save Brookdale students and families a tuition increase and save the 210 folks about to get laid off. The ball is in their court.

Join us in holding them accountable by locally joining a political party that will fight for every taxpayer in this county. Locally, the Monmouth County Democrats are fighting for taxpayers in our 53 towns.


Anonymous said...

Get rid of the county owned golf courses and support higher education.

Anonymous said...

oh please....

gut it more, most is bloat and besides, half these kids are just extending high school

Support our state university system if you want to support higher ed as the value lies there

gut it

Anonymous said...

1331Anonymous 9:35
Your ignorance spews forth from your comment.

Anonymous said...

Vin Gopal sounds like the very young man he is.

There are, I'm sure, many ways to care for the elderly, as there are ways to educate young adults. County-run nursing homes is one way to do the former; county-run community colleges is one way to do the latter.

Surely, we can find a way to fund both of these. Promises to our sick, frail, impoverished senior citizens need to be kept. At the same time, our young people are the promise of the future, so it makes sense to help them get a good start on adult life.

I'm sure there is waste at the nursing homes. I'm sure there is waste at Brookdale. Let's try to minimize it, of course, just as we do at our own homes. But to say, as Mr. Gopal does, or as 9:35 does, that we should just get rid of them seems heartless and short-sighted.

Your Leonardo reader

Anonymous said...

anon 3:32

please tell us where anon 9:35's ignorance is? According to the statistics, community college do little more than educate their majority for barely above minimum wage jobs. Those that do go on to 4yr schools have a more than 1/3 that drop out and less than 25% go to an accredited 4yr school.

so where is the value for the majority unless you look at it as a jobs program for bloat?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Read the financial reports provided by the College,Brookdale is 61 million dollars in debt. Now who signed off on all of this construction related debt any thoughts Ms Burry? BBC is probably the only community college in NJ with this level of debt. So who won the construction contracts? Who was the head of the Board of School Estimates? Did they consider decreased enrollment and reduced State funding in the bond approval process? Ms Burry should fallback in this discussion because she clearly was instrumental in the long-range debt of the College.