Letter: Put school frustrations into action in the voting booth

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:

The school board is a policy-making body and members are the chief advisors to the superintendent on school and community issues. Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of a school district; they see to it that the district is managed well by professional administrators. In other words, it's not up to the Board to formulate a plan, but rather to approve - or not - the plans presented to them by the administration and professional experts.

Superintendents often had discussions with me in advance of significant decisions, and usually, it was about what concerns I felt the board and public would have, and how they could be addressed. Usually, the entire board would be notified in advance, but if the board was involved in every significant decision made in the district they'd need to meet on a daily basis.

The reason you got little notice of shifting to full distance learning is the safety of your kids was at stake. On Nov. 10, so many people were out sick that more than 30 classrooms weren't covered with a substitute teacher.

Many people who teach as substitutes are retired teachers. This is great because they have significant classroom experience. But COVID is particularly nasty for people who are old enough to be retired. Some retirees have decided to reduce their exposure by not working or working fewer days.

Another consideration when it comes to hiring substitutes is pay. Nobody pays subs less than Shelton - we pay the lowest wage allowed by law. Most if not all neighboring towns pay more. We can't afford to pay more because of budget constraints.

COVID is going to be frustrating. The Board of Education - both the elected members and the paid staff - are doing the best they can to deal with the circumstances they face.

My advice is to channel the energy of your frustration into positive action to advocate for changes in the way our schools are funded so they can do a better job next year.

Mark Holden

Shelton