Finn explains support for full-day K, vote against the budget

Alderman Jack Finn offered the following statement on the city’s 2014-15 budget, approved by the Board of Aldermen last week. Finn, the only Democrat on the board, was one of two aldermen to vote against the budget. His comments, which have been edited, focus on the issue of full-day kindergarten:

By Alderman Jack Finn

It’s not a secret, and I'm sure almost everyone knows where I stand, on ensuring that our children receive the best possible education we can afford to pay.

My cousin Edward Finn served in various positions at Shelton High School — as football coach, classroom teacher, and then as superintendent of schools.

My wife, prior to her passing last year, was a retired teacher who taught first grade at Mohegan School for 22 years and kindergarten at Elizabeth Shelton School for 18 years.

I totally agree with parents’ concerns for all the children presently in our school system, and for the students in the years to come.

It is my understanding that if it wasn't for parents like yourself, the important issue of full-day kindergarten would more than likely not be on the table for discussion and part of the budget vote tonight.

Attended presentations, made visit

I did attend both of the presentations on full-day kindergarten, listening to the benefits. I also did accept the invitation to travel to Bungay Elementary School in Seymour, where I saw the benefits firsthand.

At Bungay School, full-day kindergarten covers language arts, math, arts, science, social studies and focused group Instruction, as well as time for lunch, recess and structured play. I did observe the children and notice that their penmanship arts and language skills were far more advanced than here in Shelton.

I saw the advantages for the children, and I do support full-day kindergarten.

Sports vs. full-day kindergarten

I do support sports at all levels. What we are being asked tonight is to vote to add money for sports (by eliminating pay-to-play) when we all know there is a greater need for something in the classroom.

How can I vote for a budget that doesn't meet the educational needs of our children? There is a difference between politics and governance, and feel our residents need to draw that difference between what you see and hear.