A decrease in mil rate is great, if you’re cool with stealing from children

The town’s recent budget proposal is offensive. The idea of saving Shelton families roughly $2.83 a month, especially in a year when federal taxes have already been reduced, does absolutely nothing to improve the socioeconomic status of Shelton families and quite literally robs our schools and our children of desperately needed funds. This inconsequential decrease would remove over $700k from the budget that could otherwise help fill gaping holes in educational funding.

As a parent, I’ve had just about enough of the apathy demonstrated by this city’s government towards our schools year after year. Shelton’s schools receive less funding per child than almost every other district in Connecticut. Yes, the Mayor has offered an increase of $1.2M, which is a lot of money. But to be clear, that only barely covers our existing contractual salary obligations and increases in medical insurance expenses. It does nothing to cover new positions that are critical to reducing the size of already overcrowded classrooms. It fails to expand innovative educational programs at the Intermediate and High School levels. It leaves no funding to replace broken desks and chairs, stock classrooms with basic instructional materials, provide necessary building maintenance and repairs, or equip our teachers and students with the technological resources essential to today’s learning environment.

This deliberate and repeated refusal to adequately fund our schools doesn’t just hurt our children. Research clearly demonstrates that investing in public education yields tremendous social and economic benefits. Children with access to quality education are more likely to find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes or enroll in public assistance programs. In the end, that whopping $34 a year that we’d be saving at the expense of our schools is far more likely to hurt us than to help us.

As an elected member of the Board of Education, I take my responsibility and obligation to our schools and our children very seriously. I invite all Shelton residents to join me in urging our city’s leaders to do the same.