Letter: Can Shelton afford not to provide full-day kindergarten?

To the Editor:

I am a second grade teacher in Newtown. My husband and I live in Shelton with our two children.

As an educator, I have witnessed firsthand the difference between full- and half-day kindergarten. As a community member, I recognize the importance of a competitive school system for the continuing economic prosperity of our city.

Research shows that students who receive full-day kindergarten retain more and achieve higher in later grades, reducing the need for costly remediation (West Ed).

Kindergarten teachers can’t provide the instruction required to meet the new state standards and build solid foundations in a half-day program.

Security costs are cited as the reason full-day kindergarten isn’t affordable. It wasn’t easy sending my child to school in September and I agree that security is a priority.

But, it is also a fact that Shelton has received state funding for these improvements. And let’s not forget about our $7.5 million surplus.

Are we willing to let our education system suffer further collateral damage from 12/14 (the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy) by choosing education or security?

Other initiatives funded

We all want Shelton to continue to thrive and for our taxes to remain affordable. As a community, we’ve spent more than $1 million dollars developing Canal Street to attract new people and grow our tax base.

We’ve spent on the Riverwalk and open spaces. We’ve spent $1.4 million on a new dog pound.

What does it say about us as a community if we are unwilling to spend money to keep our schools competitive? Education has to be a priority to attract and hold forward-thinking, responsible stakeholders who will help our economy grow for years to come.

Given our current surplus, our growing tax base and the government aid being offered to us, we can clearly afford security, improvements to our city infrastructure and educational advancement.

What good is a surplus if it doesn’t serve the longevity of the community that created it?

As a community, let’s have the “Vision to See, the Faith to Believe, and the Courage to Do.”

Amy Taylor