Op-Ed: BOE Republicans back joint tech committee

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

The proposed charter revision change has presented the Board of Education with a long-term opportunity to address our technology needs. It is an offering sought by previous superintendents and many previous board members. It has no downside for the Shelton school district and will elevate our learning capabilities and assist in keeping up with future demands.

A Joint Technology Committee (JTC) was previously formed about 12 to 13 years ago, and it met with much approval as the school district was the major beneficiary by far. However, the prior JTC was set up under the existing charter as a building committee, and it ceased to exist when the voter approved funding was exhausted. Consequently, we have been without it now for some 10 years and have had to rely on annual budgetary capital improvement requests to fund our technology needs.

This approach presents numerous problems — Firstly, we cannot adopt a multi-year approach to address all of our technology needs. Secondly, we never know when or if our annual base request for Chromebooks (or similar technology) will be met. The Board of Aldermen has told us that the annual capital improvement funding available under the current charter is not enough to fund the entire city’s capital needs and that our 25 percent annual request for Chromebooks places a major drain on the available capital funds.

Technology continues to take a major step forward in the way that we teach, learn and conduct city business. Our charter needs to keep abreast and elevate technology to an independent level if we are to meet the needs of our students and our community.

Unfortunately, there are people who have taken a stance and oppose this major step forward. Some of those people who well understand the value of a JTC include former BOE and community members as well as employees within our city. Those who suggest a continuance of the current charter-appointed annual capital improvement program may be ill-informed or may have their own agenda (political or personal). Either way, that approach is not in the best interest of our educational system or the needs of Shelton students.

We ask all who care and support education in Shelton to endorse the Joint Technology Committee as proposed by the Shelton Charter Revision Commission. Those voting in opposition to this joint technology opportunity are voting for the status quo and that will only worsen as the charter-allotted capital improvement funds will continue to diminish!

In conclusion, it is important to note that the formation of this JTC removes authority from the mayor and the Board of Aldermen and fully places it with the appointed IT professionals and the delegated members of the committee.

James Orazietti, Kathy Yolish, Amy Romano, Carl Rizzo and John Fitzgerald are Republican members of the Board of Education.