Of Special Education and Taxes


Note: the following is not intended to be a political post. I live in New Jersey. My property taxes are ridiculous. We have a Republican governor. In the past, we had Democratic governors … and ridiculous taxes.

My annual mortgage escrow statement arrived in the mail the other day. I set it aside to look at later. By now, I am used to this annual drill. We have lived in the same house in the same New Jersey suburb for more than a decade. Every year the statement arrives showing an escrow shortage, meaning our properly taxes have gone up yet again.

High taxes are a fact of life in New Jersey as they are in a lot of the surrounding states. But for some reason, this one bothered me. Despite a drop in my interest rate, my monthly payment stands to rise almost $200 unless I pay the escrow shortage up front. I looked at the breakdown of the payment. Taxes represent nearly two-thirds of the total. I grumbled something about moving to a different part of the country, but then forgot about it.

I have never complained too much about my taxes. Later that day, Veronica reminded me exactly why. The reminder came in the form of her letter nominating some of the teachers, therapists and aides who work with Ryan for our school district’s annual special-education awards.

These are the people who spend countless hours with my child. The members of the eight-person team that sat around the table at his most recent IEP meeting. The ones who provide daily feedback as to his challenges in school. The ones who have come up with the solutions for some of his trickiest behavioral issues. Who have visited our home to get a better picture of the challenges he faces and offer suggestions on how to combat them. Who have gone above and beyond in so many capacities I can’t possibly list them all here.

Yeah, we pay a lot in taxes.

We get a lot more in services for our son.

I may be guilty of over-simplifying things. Clearly there is not a one-to-one relationship between the taxes we pay and the services we receive. Call it a bit of black-and-white, linear thinking that Ryan would appreciate.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said there was nothing certain in life except death and taxes. He didn’t say anything about access to special-education services.

We are so very grateful for the services Ryan receives through the public schools where we live.

I will not complain about my taxes any more.

At least not until next year’s statement arrives.


5 thoughts on “Of Special Education and Taxes

  1. My husband and I have had the same discussion…our absurd property taxes are funding our sons’ special education. While I want to grumble and fume, I see first hand the benefits that they provide. So, I’ll mumble under my breath,and then pay the escrow shortage. 🙂


    1. I think about leaving quite a bit. Small matter of jobs and family being here, but also we’re very happy with our special services and the thought of recreating that somewhere else is very daunting.


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