Friday, November 2, 2007

Our School District’s New Website

The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District launched its new website this week. I submitted an online comment commending the site design but questioning the cost. I was quite pleased to receive a response the next day from Darlene Gallagher. She thanked me for my interest and informed me that the cost was $28,063.00 at startup plus an annual fee of $7,500. That’s about $50,000 over a three year period. $50,000 for a website? It’s a beautiful site but I can’t justify the cost.

The website,, was built by SchoolWires, a company that specializes in school websites. SchoolWires normally charges over $15,000 per year plus startup fees so I should be pleased that we’re getting such a bargain. But $50,000 over three years is still a huge sum to spend on a nice looking website.

When our students are scoring below average in every single standard exam, we can’t afford to spend $50,000 on a website we don’t need. Moreover, the school could have used the student body to build and maintain a new website. Or they could have used Gmail to provide free email services.

Does anyone believe the faculty would prefer this new website over $50 gift certificates during the holiday season? Does anyone believe $50,000 on a website will do more for our children’s education than spending the money on prizes for educational projects? Is there no one on the school board who couldn’t think of a more creative way to spend $50,000?

The Board of Education does not understand the simple concept of limited funds. It does not understand the concept of fiscal responsibility. Nor does it realize that its sole mission is to educate our children without unnecessarily burdening the taxpayer.

Nice website but we’re better off without it.
>>> Read more!


Anonymous said...

Mr. Aberdeener,

I have read many comments on your blog with great interest. Please keep it up.

The main problem with the schools is the superintendent and several long time board members who blindly support him. They exploded the budget over the last 5 years. There are new reform minded members on the board, who have not been able to take control till April this year. Many of these board members actually voted AGAINST the budget when the field was included in it.

Thank God the superintendent is leaving; he ruined our community schools with his reorganization of the district. Spent our money, and allowed educational performance to further decline.

I hope they get someone for the job who knows what to do to fix education.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank Aberdeener for exposing the ills of this town and being a vegillent watchdog. Action to correct this constant waste and abuse by at the expense of the taxpayers has been an ongoing problem with little or no relief in sight. The business as usual attitude at the local and state level has provided a safe haven for this activity. I would not be suprised that in the near future an FBI sting might reveal some major inappropriate activities just as they did in the Plesantville school district.

Truth In Matawan said...

I'm sorry--$7500 a year to maintain the website? Discounted from $15000 a year? What a racket! How can any company possibly justify charging that much just to maintain a website?!? How can anyone with a brain vote to SPEND that much? It truly boggles the mind. I'm flabbergasted. Is it that school board members are so scared to be labeled "against children" that they're intimidated into voting YES for every possible expenditure? What else can it be?

If Matawan and Aberdeen both do not raise taxes ONE IOTA this year (unlikely, but go with it for a moment), by what percentage can we expect our taxes to go up anyway due to the school board?

Aberdeener said...

If all our property tax rates stayed the same except for the school property tax rate, our taxes would still likely increase about 3.5% next year.

By the way, you'll be "happy" to know that the school signed a five year contract - one year for setup/maintenance plus an additional four years for hosting/maintenance.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice of the Aberdeener if he ever stated the fact that none of his children attend the district right now. How can a man who is not willing to state this fact be so judgmental of the system. The system can only work if parents are at home to reenforce what the children are taught in the class room. None of your children go to the district one is a baby and the other currently attends private school, so please do not act like you know what it is like to have children in the district. Have children go to class. Then you can talk of personal experiences. And if you hate the district so much then please move out of the town we do not need the negative attitude in town. And last I checked aberdeener was not an option on the school board election ticket. Why not I ask? If you are so smart you should be on the board with all your private research.

Aberdeener said...

Putting aside the vitriol, I believe you have a point that people may consider my posts in a different light if they knew my children were not enrolled in the public schools. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I have updated my profile to indicate that my children, a 3-year-old boy and a baby on the way, do not attend school.

Anonymous said...

$50,000? The site is ugly by today's standards. The coding is horrific. They could have gotten a top notch web designer and used a commercially available (but cheaper) CMS for a few thousand.

Anonymous said...

This site cost's nothing to host Blogger is a Google hosted free site. This writing is all crap anyway. Checkout the blog titled "The Keyport Yacht Club" also hosted by blogger. Much nicer blog with more current information and fun to read!