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A dose of reality Last Thursday, during his monthly radio spot on New Jersey 101.5, Christie gave us one of those moments.With less than six months left in office, Christie has, apparently, given up any pretense of tiptoeing around delicate subjects. School taxes make up the largest percentage of a property tax bill in New Jersey.Hardis said among other issues, old electrical systems – which have a history of brownouts – and outdated heating would make renovations to the buildings costly.“Maintaining the status quo in those buildings is not an option,” Hardis said, adding that while they could likely continue to educate in the schools for several more years, systems will eventually fail.“Strategically we want to address major infrastructure needs before it poses a serious threat.”After consulting with architects and engineers, Hardis said they found renovating the two schools would cost about .7 million, compared to the estimated .7 million it could cost to consolidate the schools into a “new ideal” building.Hardis and Miller said their goal is to make Hilltop a recreational community park, with athletic fields, walking paths and playgrounds, which would help the school expand its athletic resources as well.“Young families who come through and tour always talk about how hard it is to find a home in Beachwood,” Miller said. Always quick with a sharp-tongued quip or verbal takedown, a large portion of Christie's legacy -- despite Bridgegate, Beachgate, or the infamous bro-hug with President Barack Obama -- will be his bombastic personality.So, Christie spooned out a big heaping dose of reality to the station's listeners when discussing the state's out-of-control property taxes. Here in Sussex County, school taxes hover around an average of 65 cents of every dollar in property taxes paid."We know what to do to solve the problem but we are unwilling, as a society, to accept the medicine we need to solve it," he said. Now, there's nothing wrong with financing a service that pays dividends. But here's the problem in Sussex County: student enrollment is going down while per-pupil costs continue to rise.

Additionally, educating all students in the same building provides opportunities for different grades to collaborate.

In Vernon, enrollment dropped from 4,328 in 2006 to 2,622 last year and yet per-pupil costs have risen by ,125 to ,876.

Or Hamburg, which had the highest per-pupil cost in the county at ,092, for the district's 204 students.

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