LETTER: Put ‘grudges' aside when setting Shelton education budget

To the Editor:

There is something I have been trying to shake for the past couple of weeks and I have not been successful. When I saw the article in this paper outlining Mayor Mark Lauretti's budget proposal, I was excited to hear his plan.

However, after reading the article, I was frankly left disappointed in the manner with which he chose to address the largest and most attention-worthy department in his care.

It has repeatedly been made apparent that the Board of Education (BOE) is not a department Mayor Lauretti likes to deal with, nor does it seem as if he wants to work on a better relationship with them.

I, as a parent of children in this city, have been doing some investigation and have been asking many questions of the BOE as well as of my principal at Sunnyside School. All of these conversations are open and impassioned when it comes to our children.

The discussion invariably comes back to giving our kids the best possible education and, as it stands, (most of) the decision-makers in this city seem to forget that small detail.
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The city-side discussions to which I have been privy are repeatedly charged with disdain and contempt for BOE members, and the peppered history between city and education officials.

The discussion loops back to old grudges and personal offenses. This is not productive and frankly a waste of my tax dollars. These discussions must be about our children.

This is not across the board (no pun intended), however.

There are Board of Aldermen members who truly wish to make educated and progressive decisions and it has become uncomfortably obvious that the questions and concerns raised last year by Aldermen Noreen McGorty, Jack Finn and Lynn Farrell regarding the budgetary allowance for full-day kindergarten were not received well.

In closing, I would put out a plea to our mayor and aldermen to please put your grudges and personal distaste aside and deeply review the BOE budget.

Ask questions and open conversations with the BOE about what the changing needs are concerning education and care of our children.

We are a relatively wealthy city with a healthy budget surplus, and we spend less per child than 90% of the municipalities in our state. Why?

Michele B. Bialek