Letter: Why this SHS student is running for alderman

To the Editor:

Last year I wrote a letter to this paper titled ‘A Student's Perspective on School Funding.’ I wrote that letter largely in response to the BOE's decision to implement ‘pay to play,’ a burdensome fee which punishes kids for taking part in school activities.

I was honestly shocked by the response that letter received. Parents, students, and teachers all came up to me sometime after to voice their support. It seemed to me like things were finally changing, that the people of this city would no longer tolerate a political establishment that views the education department as a drag on city resources, rather than as a beacon of hope and opportunity for so many young people.

Shamefully, this year the Mayor proposed a 0 percent increase to the education budget, completely ignoring the public outcry from concerned citizens. In May, a city board reviewed the mayor’s budget and recommended a $930,000 increase for a school psychologist, new books, and technology. Sadly, the Board of Alderman unanimously approved a budget which included the psychologist, but nothing more. Under this very lean budget, 19 teachers will be eliminated, class sizes will grow, textbooks and technology will age, and 'pay to play' will be imposed. All this while taxes increase from 22.15 to 22.44 mills.

I ask why is this exactly? Why are the people of this city ignored, while a tax increase is deemed necessary? We're talking about a city which not too long ago boasted about a general fund in excess of $12 million, where surpluses of, for example, $7.5 million in 2013 and $2.5 million in 2014, were the norm. This, in a city whose tax base increased 1.36 percent in 2018, due to new development which frequently occurs. In fact, I wish − as do many others − that the mayor gave as much consideration to our schools and education as he does to his developer friends.

There is something inherently wrong in a city which antagonizes one of it's most important departments at every turn. There is something inherently wrong in a city which raises taxes on its residents but then doesn't allocate that extra funding to the area that needs it the most. There is something inherently wrong with a mayor and a BOA that ignores its citizens pleas in favor of stubborn partisan politics.

My name is Matt McGee. I've grown up in Shelton, and I am currently entering my senior year at Shelton High School. I'm running for alderman in the third ward because enough is enough; It's time to put our children first and properly fund the education budget. I look forward to meeting many of you over the next three months, and I hope you will join me in this fight for the future of our great city.

You can connect with our campaign at the following destinations:

Twitter, Instagram: @McGee4Alderman

Facebook: Matt McGee

Campaign Website: https://mcgee4alderman.wixsite.com/mcgee4alderman/

Matt McGee