Letter: Calls on Shelton BOE to create bipartisan budget that supports education

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

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To the Editor:

With the New Year upon us I have been doing a lot of thinking about starting fresh and remaining optimistic about the year ahead. I cannot stop thinking about the students in Shelton and across the nation that are dealing with extraordinary learning circumstances that need continued support from parents, teachers, and Boards of Education to keep their opportunity to learn alive and well.

In order to do this in our city the BOE must begin working toward a goal of bipartisan discussions on issues that are important to the educational well-being of our students. Votes should not be taken on educational issues for political gain - votes should be taken for the primary goal of the betterment of our students and our school system.

This is budget building season for the BOE, and I hope all current BOE members on both sides build a budget that supports education in a way that is not fiscally destructive to the educational process. Some citizens believe that the number of students enrolled in a district can be directly connected to monetary cuts in teacher positions and student services. The equation in their minds is simple - keep classes at 25 or 28 students per teacher and get rid of the “fat in the budget.” This equation is flawed. The reduction in student enrollment does not correlate directly to cutting education dollars.

Our elementary students must be supported with curriculum materials, technology, programs, and services which support all students. The equation on the elementary level is somewhat simple however as students move through the upper grades curriculum becomes more sophisticated, teacher certification is subject specific and the instructional day is more diversified and aligned to individual student needs. Intermediate and high school programs of study become career building activities for students to follow in their post-secondary fields of study. The state of Connecticut also requires that cities and towns adhere to specific graduation requirements that all public school systems must adhere to while instructing their students in grades K-12.

The elephant in the room, however, for next school year is the current COVID situation. Hopefully our district will commit to provide a safe and nurturing school environment for all students to learn. Next school year is not the time to “cut” any instructional services for our kids. Next year our kids will need all their teachers, updated curriculum, appropriate student services, technology, and student activities in a “back to normal” environment that supports our staff and administration. Fund the district for growth, meet contractual obligations, and address student educational needs appropriately with a budget that reflects a desire for a school system supported by students, teachers, administrators, parents and most importantly the Board of Education.

Lorraine Rossner

Chair, Envision Shelton