Vision for Shelton
I am writing to you today as a concerned Shelton citizen, taxpayer, and voter. This week I went to the high school to attend a social event ‘Cocoa with the Headmaster’. In light of what happened in Parkland Fl last week, there was a large turnout with concerns of school safety. We listened to the plans that were in place and there were many suggestions and ideas about what more could be done. But there is one major factor that is preventing this. The gross lack of funding for our public schools. Superintendent Clouet presented us with his budget proposal for the town. He is asking for a 3.99% increase over last year’s budget. And if you look at where we are at now, a 3.99% increase is pitiful at best. And we realize that 3.99% is the ask. It doesn’t mean the school system will get it.
Here is an interesting statistic about Shelton in terms of education spending. In the State of CT, Shelton is ranked 163 out of 166 school districts in ‘Net Current Expenditures per Pupil’. In the school year 2016-2017, for every student in the Shelton Public School System, the town allocated $13,858.61. Of the 166 school districts, we are the fourth lowest in the state. Statistics for our surrounding towns are: Ansonia $14,236.66 (state rank 155), Seymour $14,774.88 (state rank 140), Trumbull $15,979.57 (state rank 109), Derby $16,260.15 (state rank 102), and Monroe $16,685.59 (state rank 91). So even if we get this pitiful 3.99%, we will still be one of the lowest funded, per student, school districts in the state. I have lived in Shelton for 19 years and have seen amazing commercial development. And one would think how wonderful this must be for the income of the town. Given what you see, our schools should be benefiting from this influx. Also benefiting from this should be our police departments, fire departments, parks & recreation departments, etc. But sadly, that is not the case. Frankly it is outright embarrassing.
At that meeting, a parent asked: “What is Shelton’s vision?” And that is my question to you – what is the vision? Why do we have all this development, if not to benefit our own town?
Everyone is concerned about school safety. But how can we expect to fund any type of safety measure when teachers don’t have paper and have to ask their students to use youtube to help them with math because they don’t have a text book. And how can we expect our police force to protect our schools if they are not fully funded? Are we proud to be ranked 163 out of 166? Is that Shelton’s vision?