A Cranbury Thanksgiving: A Fictional Trip Into Another Town’s Mindset

A Cranbury Thanksgiving: A Fictional Trip Into Another Town’s Mindset

by Mary Clurman, Princeton resident

We are grateful to Princeton for its commitment to educating Cranbury’s children. From the bottom of our hearts — and pockets — we thank you for renewing the agreement to house our high school students.

Thirty years ago, when you had space, you took us in. Decade after decade you have renewed this gift — not only to our sons and daughters but to our realtors, who promote our low tax rates. Our tax base grows strong, even as your longtime residents depart. Your loss is our gain.

And now, overcrowded as Princeton High School is, it will expand. We are humbled that our annual $5 million a year in tuition will help control your operating budget.

In return for all your kindness we will carry on, daily busing our teens 40 minutes each way, past empty seats at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and South, where the school tax is less but the competitive rating is by some measures higher, alas, than yours.

Bless you Princeton. We’re so glad you need us.


  1. As a real Cranbury resident and proud graduate of Princeton High School, I can confidently say that the above parody letter is in poor taste and contains several falsehoods despite its brevity.
    The bus rides we take are between 25 and 30 minutes depending on the day, and we don’t pass by either of the West Windsor/Plainsboro schools on that trip. Cranbury doesn’t have low taxes; Princeton’s taxes are higher, but they are high by any town’s standards. We pay for each student that goes to Princeton High School in line with the cost of educating those students as part of the PPS system; this is covered by our taxes, not yours.
    Yes, we are thankful to have this partnership, and I am thankful to have engaged in a fantastic education experience at Princeton High School. We do not participate to rip anyone off. Instead, we participate to add to the vibrant academic community at the school. We do not stand down as false and ill-intended media is passed around our communities, and yet we are not concerned about its impact either.
    Thankfully, due in part to the fantastic Princeton High School education provided to the residents of both of our towns, our communities are too well educated and informed to adopt this kind of messaging. I forgive you and invite you to move on.

  2. In particular, “Your loss is our gain” is false. Princeton taxpayers *gain* from this agreement. The incremental cost of educating Cranbury students at PHS far exceeds the incremental cost, even after including debt service costs for expanding PHS. The math is surprising but clear, and was covered in public meetings last spring when this topic was before the BoE.

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