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Column: H.S. Test Scores a Mixed Bag

Examine the scores with care, because many factors contribute to the results.

New Jersey released school test scores last week.

It’s an annual ritual that is both highly anticipated and loathed by many.

No matter how much people complain about the over-testing of students, about the state placing too much emphasis on the tests, about schools teaching to the test and of tests being used to judge schools, everyone combs the test scores to see how students and schools are doing.

Judging by the statewide averages on the language arts and math sections of the High School Proficiency Assessment—passing this test is a graduation requirement for most high schoolers—students and schools are doing fairly well, or at least improving.

Almost 90 percent of high school juniors, the current Class of 2012, who took the test for the first time last spring passed the reading and writing section of the test. Three-quarters passed math. Those represent increases of 2.5 percentage points in language arts and 1.1 percentage points in math over the 2010 test administration.

Looking at Morris County schools, the results are mixed. About half the schools improved their average percent “passing” rates—those scoring proficient or advanced proficient—in math. A little more than half improved their language arts passing rates. But that means the others had lower passing rates.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality of these schools has dropped.

Many Morris high schools are wealthy and naturally high-achieving, so small drops in passing rates don’t mean much. That’s especially true given that the test is measuring the performance of one class against an entirely different group of students. Ask any teacher and he or she will say that, for whatever reason, different classes of students from year to year have different personalities, different strengths and different weaknesses.

It should be up to teachers to address every student’s needs, but that’s often not possible. In an ideal world, every student would pass. As a practical matter, that’s never going to be the case.

It’s easier to improve performance when starting from a low point than to bring a 98 percent passing rate up to a 99 or perfection. And it’s hard to get every student to pass—the only Morris schools to do so last year were the two academies for high-achievers within Morris County Vocational School District, and one school (law and public safety) had only 12 students take the tests, while the other (math, science and engineering) had 22.

There are other caveats to test results. Generally, children from higher-income families do better and vice versa. The state Department of Education released other results, as well, for tests for grades 3-8 and breakdowns within each test for special education and bilingual students, sex and race, among others. These generally bore out traditional stereotypes and trends: boys did test better than girls in math, while girls did better in language arts; Asians outperformed all other racial and ethnic groups in math, and they scored as well as whites on the language arts section.

No test or group of tests should be used to grade a school, but taken with other information, including demographic and socioeconomic, they can provide fodder for parents and community members, not to mention school officials themselves, to see what a school is doing well and question whether it might be able to do some things better.

For instance, Dover, which is ranked among the poorest and lowest socioeconomic grouping in the state, posted impressive passing increases of 6.5 percent in language arts and 11.1 percent in math. It outperformed and , in Sussex, on both sections of the test, and also had a higher passing percentage in math than , , Roxbury, , and Boonton, all of which are ranked higher socioeconomically based on the state’s district factor group system.

Did Dover have an especially bright class take the test or has it implemented some changes in curriculum or teaching style, or both, that led to the increases?

It can also be useful to compare schools’ scores against the district factor group averages, which give an idea of how schools are doing compared to similar schools.

In the GH group, which is roughly upper middle class, a little more than half of Morris districts fared better than the average in each of the tests. Jefferson, Morristown and both Parsippany high schools had a smaller percentage of students passing. Could these schools do something differently to help more students pass?

There is one especially troubling statewide result that all districts should consider: Blacks had the lowest passing rates on the HSPA of any other major racial or ethnic group. Even though English is not the first language for some Hispanic students, they did better than blacks on the reading and writing section of the test, as well as on math. This pattern carries through in those Morris districts for which brakedowns were available, particularly regarding the math results.

That kind of information is what school officials and community members should take away from the test results and use as a basis for making changes to help more students pass. Because regardless of anyone’s feelings about the test, students do have to pass it in order to get a diploma.

HIGH SCHOOL PASSING RATES IN 2011

The number of high school juniors taking the HSPA in spring 2011; the percent "passing," meaning they scored proficient or advanced proficient; the change in the passing rate from the prior yearl and the percent scoring advanced proficient last year.

Language Arts Test Results  High School # Tested % Passing Passing change from 2010 % Advanced Proficient DFG A Average 11,410 69.9 7.3 4.4 Dover 160 88.8 6.5 12.5 DFG DE Average 13,714 91.7 2.4 15.4 Butler 117 90.6 0.1 22.2 DFG FG Average 11,594 92.8 1.4 20.0 Boonton 144 92.4 6.2 17.4 Hopatcong 181 83.4 -4.8 11.0 DFG GH Average 17,912 94.4 1.0 25.9 Hanover Park 190 96.3 3.2 32.6 Whippany Park 141 95.8 0.5 34.8 Jefferson 269 93.0 -0.4 17.5 Morris Hills 280 97.8 4.2 23.2 Morris Knolls 412 94.2 -0.9 26.5 Morristown 369 87.0 0.1 26.6 Mount Olive 362 96.4 3.9 32.6 Parsippany High 277 91.7 0.8 26.4 Parsippany Hills 303 93.4 1.8 33.7 Pequannock 185 97.9 -0.7 33.0 Roxbury 352 95.1 2.4 24.4 DFG I Average 15,547 96.5 0.3 37.1 Kinnelon 175 96.5 -1.3 39.4 Madison 198 98.0 -1.0 46.0 Montville 352 97.4 1.6 29.8 Randolph 414 96.1 -0.9 38.6 West Morris Central 342 96.8 -1.1 35.1 West Morris Mendham 308 98.3 -1.1 57.1 DFG J Average 3,868 97.8 0.2 46.1 Chatham 297 98.3 0.4 53.5 Mountain Lakes 186 97.9 -1.4 42.5 DFG V Average 5,174 91.7 1.7 23.8 Law and Public Safety 12 100.0 0.0 41.7 Mathematics, Science, Engineering 22 100.0 0.0 95.5 MC School of Technology 160 98.8 -0.3 28.8 State Average 96,887 89.6 2.5 20.8 Non-special Needs Average 83,017 92.5 1.7 23.3 Math Test Results High School # Tested % Passing Passing change from 2010 Advanced Proficient DFG A Average 11,377 47.0 2.3 6.5 Dover 162 85.2 11.1 19.8 DFG DE Average 13,717 75.9 1.7 19.2 Butler 117 75.2 5.8 14.5 DFG FG Average 11,573 78.7 1.6 23.8 Boonton 142 74.0 5.9 14.8 Hopatcong 181 65.1 -6.2 11.0 DFG GH Average 17,883 84.2 1.0 31.6 Hanover Park 190 85.2 -0.5 36.8 Whippany Park 141 87.2 2.0 39.7 Jefferson 269 79.2 -0.9 18.2 Morris Hills 280 89.6 2.5 33.2 Morris Knolls 412 86.4 -2.4 33.0 Morristown 371 76.5 0.6 29.6 Mount Olive 361 85.9 4.6 40.2 Parsippany High 276 77.5 3.8 27.9 Parsippany Hills 304 83.6 -2.0 36.2 Pequannock 185 94.1 2.0 34.6 Roxbury 352 82.4 2.7 23.3 DFG I Average 15,543 88.9 -0.3 43.4 Kinnelon 175 87.5 -5.3 38.9 Madison 199 88.9 -4.0 42.2 Montville 353 88.7 -3.1 40.5 Randolph 413 87.9 -1.7 43.3 West Morris Central 342 87.1 -2.7 41.8 West Morris Mendham 307 93.4 0.7 51.1 DFG J Average 3,873 93.5 -1.2 56.9 Chatham 297 91.6 -1.3 53.9 Mountain Lakes 186 94.6 -2.2 46.8 DFG V Average 5,175 77.3 -0.3 29.2 Law and Public Safety 12 100.0 7.1 58.3 Mathematics, Science, Engineering 22 100.0 0.0 100.0 MC School of Technology 60 95.7 -0.9 36.9 State Average 96,783 75.2 1.1 25.3 Non-special Needs Average 82,958 79.6 0.9 28.2

Source: Patch anaylsis of NJ Department of Education data

Interesting February 21, 2012 at 07:51 PM
randy, randy, randy.... While I agree that any tax increase of any kind is a bad thing, I do not agree with your math and it is misleading... And you seem to do this often in your posts. For example - a simple example - lets assume that school tax, borough tax and county tax were all equal In absolute dollars, lets say 100 dollars each, and they all increased by 2% - you are trying to imply that taxes would increase by the sum or 6% - this is not accurate... In reality the total would increase by 2%. Again... I do agree that any tax increase is too much, but let's try to be accurate please.
Roll Back Our Tax February 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Sylvia, sylvia sylvia....(better known as interesting). Why don't you just let us know now before April 1st deadline to file tax appeal....how much our taxes will be going up? I don't mislead the public as you do often in your posts. Besides, I give links which are accurate instead of here say like you do and try to manipulate the public. But since you seem to know so much about what the break down is per hundred dollars maybe you can give us a rough idea what you plan on doing. You on the other hand try to justify 5-6% tax increases per year. I did the math and it's a rough idea of what it will come out to be. But possibly I am low on the school end because schools make up 53% of the taxes in Hopatcong. But I will assume like always you'll some how fold it into the town budget with your behind the closed door meetings. Hence 5-6% increases for the borough since 2003. You did it last year with the "revised budget" (see below) because the one we voted down was the "original budget". You'll do it again this year when we vote the next increase down. Every time you talk I get more people in my group. 2010-11 (original) = $12,865/student 2010-11 (revised) = $14,107/student
The "Original" Hopatcong Mom February 22, 2012 at 12:35 AM
You wanted FACTS? Go to ANY board meeting, get the minutes from the previous months meetings (you can do that it's public record)...This is from Sept, so I don't have a big listing, but let me find others, we sent a student to Somerset Hills School at a tuition cost of $74,239.
Roll Back Our Tax February 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Hopatcong Mom...you have got to be a school teacher because you keep throwing out numbers that can't be validated quite like "Interesting" who happens to be the Mayor of Hopatcong. First Somerset Hills School is for kids with behavioral issues. http://www.somersethills.org/shs/index.html If the Hopatcong school district is sending kids there for $74,239 (as you say) and it's more than 20 miles away (which it is) I have an issue. The bill that Christie signed in September of 2010 was to give a student "a choice" if their local school district was not living up to their expectations and in SOME cases at "taxpayers" expense. . http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/gov_christie_signs_bill_allowi.html "Parents dissatisfied with the quality of their local public schools can now send their children to classrooms beyond district boundaries — in some cases at taxpayer expense". The article went on further to say......"The New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey School Boards Association also supported the new law. But spokesmen for both organizations said they do not support a similar bill proposing vouchers for public school students to attend private schools". Somerset Hills Schools is a "private school". Where did you get your information?
Roll Back Our Tax February 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Michelle....The Mayor ran on a platform of “stabilizing government spending while still providing the quality services our residents need and deserve”. Also, “lowering property taxes and exploring shared services”. Young ran on platform of ”stabilizing taxes”. He also said, ”he'd help Hopatcong find new sources of revenue and business”. Klein, ran on a platform of ”controlling spending”. Talk is cheap because “they don’t pay off on effort…they pay off on results”. Bringing business into town should be their highest priority because we need a broader tax base with MORE business tax revenue. Second priority stabilizing taxes because the homeowners cannot afford anymore 5 – 6% tax increases per year, with nothing to show for it. Third priority is improving Math and English skills in HS to attract families to want to move to area because of the schools. Declining enrollment, poor test scores high pension and benefit costs along w/one of the highest costs per pupil to educate in Sussex County is a recipe for disaster. You think we’d have better schools but more $ doesn’t buy you better schools. Change starts at the top and if Marzanno can’t produce then he needs to be accountable and if he can’t get the job done then resign. Even the supposed ONE attraction” Lake Hopatcong is going slowly. The water level management on the lake in recent years has been unacceptable and when the attraction of the lake is gone…so goes Hopatcong.
genesko February 22, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I cannot believe you said "...they are not capable of taking these test and they are bring down our scores..." I will ignore the poor grammar - clearly you have some specialness too. However, MANY of those "SPECIAL NEEDS" kids that are "bring down" (Again the poor grammar, but hey, it's the internet.) everyone's test scores are FAR from STUPID! (as you have clearly implied -- let me guess, they are the "eaters" in our society, right?) Yes we have some children with extreme physical and mental disabilities, but I can fully attests to some "SPECIAL NEEDS" kids who are frustrated by their situation, precisely because they know they are not stupid, just need a little more time or take medication to keep their focus. They are given standardized test with more time. If they are not learning, there is a problem, regardless of their disability. There should always be measurable progress or everyone's time is being wasted. (I have seen that case as well.) If you ever got to know some of the "SPECIAL NEEDS" kids, you 1. might not even know they were "SPECIAL NEEDS" and 2, be amazed at the variety of skills and talents they do possess that are not always part of standardized testing. Many of these kids are near genius in the manner in which they think out of the box. What is really the most heart-breaking is when they feel teachers assume they won't amount to much because they are "SPECIAL NEEDS." Everyone can add value, stop blaming them for the largest negatives on the chart.
Interesting February 22, 2012 at 08:04 PM
nope... Guess again... randy, randy, randy... Interesting...... Very..... Interesting though.... If you recall I agreeded with you that any tax increase is a bad increase... There... We DO agree on one thing.... have a great day...
Interesting February 22, 2012 at 08:10 PM
So... Did we get out your slide rule and confirm my correction... There was no mudslinging there Randy.... i am not sure why when someone has the gall to question you you get all in a huff. Again... I am a regular old citizen just like you... I have no idea on where taxes are going... I do love your links though... Oh wait - the sky is falling... Have a great day!
Michele Guttenberger February 22, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Somerset Hills School admission requirements - "A psychiatric evaluation, a psychological evaluation, social and learning disabilities evaluation should be submitted with referrrals. A one day pre-placement visit is required. Referrals are accepted from DYFS and in the case of day placements Boards of Education in New Jersey." This school does not sound like a easy opt in private school. Seems to be a school for students with severe problems that the Education Dept recommends to parents to place their child. Believe this not a good example to support your argument of high tax $$ cost of attending non-Hopatcong schools vs keeping the student in Hopatcong school system. It appears that staying in the Hopatcong School was not an option for these students nor their parents. It is probably why the town is picking up the tab on this one. Got another example for Randy.
Roll Back Our Tax February 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
The more you (Interesting) and Hopatcong Mom talk the more I get added to my group. But I do like your links (none ever offered by you) and yes the sky is falling. http://www.marketwatch.com/ Maybe you want to familiarize yourself with site above because it's not just me saying it...it's some of the top economists and financiers. Follow this guy. Learn something instead of poking fun of me and others with your worthless comments. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/halftime-in-america-more-like-sudden-death-2012-02-21
The "Original" Hopatcong Mom February 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Go to the board meetings, ask for the agenda and minutes from the last months meeting...they HAVE to gove it to you...any numbers I "spit out" are all public record! We send A LOT of kids out of district when we have programs here to support the kids! You DON'T have to work in the district to be a knowledable parent. Unlike you who is so concerned that our teacher's make too much money (I don't, teaching these rude children is a tough job, I have subbed), I am concerned about "waste"...which includes hundreds of thouasnd of dollars in out-of-district placements (and transportation to such schools) as well as unneccesary remodeling projects (ie: the numerous board office and school principal office remodels), sub-contracting jobs that our current custodial staff can do. Just read the minutes, they account for every cent leaving the ditrict...why don't you do your homeowrk instead of just sprouting what you think you know about homes which has nothing to do with our school money!
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Hummmmm. Interesting... I love your links... I still have not seen you comment on the point of my original comment.... Your math was wrong and misleading... and please... I know you and Michelle think that anyone that dares to question either of you is some sort of evil person is a bit crazy. If I must provide a link to my point on basic math, let me know and I am sure I can get one for you.... Enjoy your Patch site.... I'll be watching.... :). don't worry be happy...
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I have attended Council meetings. I have made suggestions. I can tell you with all certainty "the borough is going broke". I can't get the Mayor, Council, School Board, School Board President, Superintendant, etc to even answer emails on starting a "Citizens Audit Committee" so how can I get them to understand the sense of urgency? Let interest rates rise and see where the servicing of future debt goes. My only way of fighting city hall was to form a group to fight our high real estate taxes to send the borough and schools a message that "we want to see reforms implemented". Change starts at the TOP and the Superintendant's contract which expires in June of 2013 needs to go! Fighting real estate tax increase which have EVERYTHING to do with the schools because it makes up 53% of the tax revenue is our last resort. I have to hit them in the pocketbook for them to understand we need to start acting responsibly in Hopatcong and start implementing "austerity" plans. Understand me when I say this...."Things are NOT getting better". Hopatcong is sitting on a time bomb with their debt issues, labor contracts and unstainable retirement programs. The state skipped a $3.1 million pension fund payment in June 2010. There's still a $30 million gap based on a 2.49% gain during January. But that's only because the stock market performed. So debt and revenue interest work in opposite ways and I see a storm brewing on the horizon.
Observer February 23, 2012 at 12:48 AM
After all this harangue, the essential problem still remains. Our schools are underperforming. Until that issue is addressed, don't expect real estate values to ever improve.
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Hmmmmm....."Interesting". Provide the link and you can challenge my figures. I have run divisions of companies much larger than this $40 million plus dollar revenue sucking borough. It's easy to raise taxes. It's much harder to run a company profitably with intense foreign competition and substitutes in the marketplace. Hopatcong has no competition, some substitutes for schools and has a seemingly endless source of supposed revenue. If Hopatcong was a company they'd be "out of business". BTW...what are your credentials so that you may be believable because it appears you have NOTHING listed under your profile? You too embarrassed to list your "on the job" experience for all of us to see?
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 02:55 AM
randy... I believe I provided a very simple example... I am sure you can follow it... If not, it appears it is not worth my time to try to explain my very simple example again... I am going to give you credit - you know I am correct on this... So enjoy playing in Patch land... This whole site is becoming like the National Enquirer.... Enjoy your night...
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Ok - I changed my mind and will do it for you one more time... See above... You said "So between the county's increase of 1-2%, the schools increase of 2-3% and the borough's increase of 3-5%....we'll be at a total increase of 8-10% in real estate taxes in an economy that hasn't recovered from the last recession.". I questioned this and said: "Interesting 2:51 pm on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 randy, randy, randy.... While I agree that any tax increase of any kind is a bad thing, I do not agree with your math and it is misleading... And you seem to do this often in your posts. For example - a simple example - lets assume that school tax, borough tax and county tax were all equal In absolute dollars, lets say 100 dollars each, and they all increased by 2% - you are trying to imply that taxes would increase by the sum or 6% - this is not accurate... In reality the total would increase by 2%. Again... I do agree that any tax increase is too much, but let's try to be accurate please.". Take a breath - do you now follow my very simple point? That is my very simple point... Sweet Dreams...
Cynthia February 23, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Mr. Roll Back, it seems you are so very focused on the costs in your district which, if at $19k per student, are indeed very high. However, the sad fact is that you are paying for Jersey City's school's corruption and high costs, as well as Newark, Asbury Park, and etc. In fact, the 31 'Abbott' Districts get 60-70% of our state's school aid and they have only 25-30% of it's school population!!!!!!!! You might want to look at Senator Michael Doherty's site as it will help you to understand. If his legislation was to make it to Trenton, you and all suburban taxpayers would be handed a HUGE property tax cut. If your district got the $7,400 per student that he discusses in his literature, your district, Hopatcong, would receive $3.7M from Trenton (see the calculator on his site). That might help to decrease your property taxes a bit. Yes, $19k per child is too much, but how about the $30k per child in Asbury Park that YOU and I are paying for?? Or the HUNDREDS of unnecessary supervisors in Paterson? Or how about Hoboken even being an Abbott District because Corzine lives there IN A TAX ABATED apartment not because of need but because he pushed for that?? Read Doherty's site and readjust your thinking. Yes our property taxes are too high..here's why....http://fairschoolfunding.com/
Cynthia February 23, 2012 at 03:32 AM
sorry.. http://fairschoolfunding.com
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Cynthia, Interesting, Summer....thanks for all your comments. Please keep up the good work!
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Observer....actually until the whole state of NJ addresses the school reform policies that need to be implemented and the high real estate tax issues, don't expect real estate values to rise in Hopatcong or anywhere else in the state. But DEFINITELY expect foreclosure rates to increase.....oh wait things are getting better...the sky isn't falling.....quit posting National Inquirer links and misleading posts. http://www.dsnews.com/articles/overdue-mortgages-number-6082000-2012-02-21 New data from Lender Processing Services (LPS) shows that as of the end of January, there were 6,082,000 mortgages in the U.S. going unpaid. That tally includes loans that are 30 or more days delinquent and loans in foreclosure. LPS says Florida had the highest percentage of non-current mortgages last month, followed by Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 03:36 PM
randy - no problem... I am here to help you any time to understand simple math. By the way, I have no problem with the tax appeal exercise... It is your right, of course. However, I am sure you know this, but this has the effect of increasing costs to everyone since it does cost the borough money to defend each and every appeal. And every penny you have reduced just gets spread out over everyone else. Even if every home was reassessed today - the total tax revenue required to run the borough would not change - and the rate applied to the new assessments would increase to offset to reduction in total assessed value. I am sure we can all thank you for doing your little part to cause our taxes to rise. Of course, this would not matter to you much since you plan to leave dodge as soon as you can get that house of yours sold. How is that going for you anyway? Again... Take a deep breath grasshopper... Listen to what I just said - and you know I am right... Have a happy day...
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 03:49 PM
LOL...keep talking grasshopper. Take a deep breath as well because you're only helping my cause. Yes..you are right in all that you say. Let me highlight being the simple minded individual I am: 1. Yes..the ones that are appealing are getting their money's worth and the borough attorney is getting rich too! 2. Yes...the one's that don't appeal are bearing the rest because that's the way the system work. 3. Yes...even if every home was reassessed today the borough will still need the revenue because it will not cut waste and overhead costs. Thanks again for all your help "interesting" and you sure know a lot about how the borough operates. You are well informed!
Tammy February 23, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I am in no way a math wizard but something struck me in reading the last two comments regarding home assessments. We recently purchased another home in Hopatcong. Luckily, both my husband's and my children are no longer in this school system. We had many reasons for staying in Hopatcong. Our home is town assessed at almost $100,000 more than it was appraised for by an outside agency. We were able to purchase it for $50,000.00 less than it was appraised at because it was bank owned. Now, Interesting stated that if homeowners appeal their taxes the reduction is spread amongst the other taxpayers. I get that. However, there are many, many homes for sale and in foreclosure in Hopatcong. If we didn't have our reasons for buying in Hopatcong again the fact that most houses are drastically over-accessed would have sent us running. It seems to me that if houses were fairly assessed more of them would sell and that would benefit everybody. Yes, I understand that it would mean less tax revenue but we are all living on tight budgets these days, why can't our Mayor and Council tighten the belt also? How can you say your concern is for the people of this town when you are blatently ripping them off because you can't manage a town based on fair taxes? Instead of paying the town attorney to fight every tax appeal why not just do a fair assessment? By the way, I thought restructuring the DPW was going to net us a fortune, where'd that money go?
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Easy there grasshopper... I am just your neighbor... No body special.... I Will be watching - lets just make sure you talk the truth... Hey - I thought you ran large divisions of large corporations... I would think that they would frown with one playing Patch all day... Well.... I am off... Be happy...
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Interesting...I operate my own business now. If you're my neighbor and own lakefront you must have worked for the state as a teacher, otherwise you would have appealed your taxes by now. You probably know this. But just so the taxpayers in Hopatcong are clear about how my "Roll Back Our Tax" Group was formed. http://hopatcong.patch.com/articles/100-gather-to-take-on-rising-taxes-organizer-has-harsh-words-for-hopatcong Back In November of 2010, armed with an appraisal I went to Therese DePiero, the Borough Assessor to request that she "voluntarily" reduce my taxes by about $2,400. I requested $1,200 for the 2010 tax year and $1,200 for the 2011 tax year. I only got $1,200. So I said "I would take the borough to Tax Appeal Court". She then got the Borough Attorney, John Ursin involved. I told him "I was going to make him a rich man". I got my $ and so did (80) other tax appealers. In 2011 armed with another appraisal I went to Therese DePiero again and requested that my taxes "voluntarily" be reduced by another $2,400. She denied me again! Only this year I have about (400) in my group and the Mayor passed a Resolution in January 2012 to cover Attorney Ursin's fees. http://www.hopatcong.org/Minutes/010412Reorg.pdf Resolution #2012-09 – Legal Defense of Tax Appeals As soon as my tax appeal is done the house is going on the market. I had a realtor tell me "if you're selling, the BEST thing you can do to sell your house, is appeal your taxes".
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Nope... Not a teacher... Only one more guess grasshopper.... When is the open house? And yes... I have read your story here on the "enquirer" many times.... Don't worry.... Be happy.... by the way... Don't be so sure about what I may or may not have done about my taxes.... I will be watching....
Interesting February 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Tammy - I am not any different than you. I live here, I pay taxes, and I am not a public person. The town, school, and county all individually have budgets to do what they do. There are a couple of important points: they are standalone groups that just happen to be added up so we have one tax bill. it takes a certain amount of money to do those things - we can all do what we need to do to be informed on what the money is spent on. That is not my point here. The assessed values of all of the houses in any town are added up and multiplied by a rate to equal the amount needed to pay for all of the services. if all of the assessed values went up - the rate would go down and the amount paid would be the same. On the other hand - if all of the assessed values went down the rate would go up and again the amount paid would be the same. Generally - the tide rises and falls to lift and drop individual property values perportionally the same. That is why entire towns assessments which cost money - are not done very frequently. My point of this was about rates not about what money is spent on. I think we all owe it to ourselves to become informed and do your own research to better understand how it works and more importantly what money is spent on and for. Listening to me or anyone else here on the enquirer might not be the best place to get the information. I hope this helped.
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 07:57 PM
No open house. You think I want my neighbor walking through our house? Don't worry...be happy. Enjoy that Florida sunshine and when you're back in town let's talk.
Roll Back Our Tax February 23, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Tammy...you need to get yourself a position on the Environmental Commission and become friends with the Mayor in Hopatcong...then you will be an informed taxpayer.

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