Letter: Calls on Anglace, aldermen to stand up to Lauretti, fix bus failures

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Contributed photo

To the Editor:

It has become so routine, but that does not make it acceptable. Many of our students were excited on Monday to return to school full time after more than a year of distance and hybrid learning. Most of them made it without an issue, but many of them were left waiting for a school bus that would never come. Parents had to scramble to figure out whether to bring their children to school themselves or just surrender to yet another day of distance learning, but this day with contact only by computer did not have to happen.

The city-operated Shelton Student Transportation Service continues to fail at its main task: providing every student transportation to and from school. Please keep in mind that it is federal law that all students be provided equal access to their education. No one is permitted to be left behind. It is the responsibility of the city, which sued to obtain the busing contract, to make sure that every student can attend classes in person. It has become clear that the mayor, as he clings to a false narrative that the pandemic is to blame, is not interested in rectifying this situation. No other district in the state approaches the utter dysfunction in service we’ve been forced to endure in Shelton.

Monday evening, the situation got even worse as several away athletic events had to be postponed due to a lack of transportation to the venues of the hosting schools. We hope that these events can be rescheduled, but with other intangibles like weather and, of course, the pandemic, it remains unclear if these events, desperately needed slices of normalcy for our athletes, can be made up.

Once again, Tuesday morning the superintendent of schools was notified that a series of bus runs would not be able to be completed. We know that drivers have had their vaccines and are fully vaccinated at this time, eliminating the need to quarantine due to exposure. It has become clear that the city has simply not hired enough drivers to complete the task that they are under contractual obligation to fulfill.

This is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The BOE is paying in full for this substandard service where parents are repeatedly called on to deliver and pick up their children when the city should be doing so. Further, this opens the city up to civil rights violations as not all students are being provided equal access to the education and corresponding experiences that are a hallmark of growing up. It will not be long before a suit is filed and no matter what happens then, it will cost us all money that could be used elsewhere.

Once again, the Board of Aldermen needs to act. They have to advocate for our students, but besides myself, there have been no calls for review or any other oversight. This is a desperate situation and continues to be ignored by my colleagues. BOA President John Anglace absolutely needs to take action to alleviate the situation. He needs to defend our taxpayers and our children. A formal inquiry is needed so we can take action to correct it. What we cannot do is nothing as it puts our entire city’s financial and legal wellbeing at risk. John Anglace, it's about time you stood up to the mayor. Shelton residents will remember this come election time, and I am going to be vocal.

David Gidwani

Republican 1st Ward Alderman