Letter: Children in Trumbull matter
To the Editor:
At what point will the administration in Trumbull prioritize the education and social and emotional well-being of our children? Over the past seven years we have seen sparse education budgets leading to class offerings limited, a race to catch up on technology (still not caught up), professional development minimized and stagnant, curricular funding viewed as unimportant, and to what end?
In 2015, Trumbull middle schools placed last in its District Reference Group (20 comparable schools) on the SBAC scores in the 6th (second to last), 7th, and 8th grade. We have SAT scores that lag and are lower than in 2011. On average, only 75% of graduating students enroll in four-year colleges.
In a town where every dollar must be fought for education funding, our children still come in second place in town priorities. Most recently we have witnessed the arbitrary maneuver to attempt to take ball fields from our youngest children. We have youth park areas that need improvements that are rejected. We have had seasonal youth town activities that have evaporated. TYA, a youth program operating since 1969 and loved by hundreds of children, was nearly dismantled. We have a school pool that is called the 'swamp'. We have school tennis courts fractured and a press box near decay. We have a Board of Education that decreased the Superintendent's budget request by $377,000 based on no reliable information. Yet, we have the First Selectman request a 20.2% raise, a six year and six figure town employee contract — and a Town Council majority that approves it.
But beyond the above, what is just as concerning is the way our dedicated educational staff has been treated—by its own Board of Education. On February 2, 2016, the five Republican members of the BOE, hastily and without prior notice to the two Democrats on the Board, reneged on six Union contracts —which had been signed in good faith by all parties—by voting to switch health insurance plans. The Unions were unaware, as well as the public, that such a vote was to take place. The vote, pre-planned in my opinion, was done without thought, facts, or care of the impact it would have on the approximately 800 BOE employees.
The Administration and their super Republican majority are willing to hand a blank check to the Senior/CommunityBuilding Committee that lacks a cohesive plan; yet, parents and children have to plead for educational, recreational, or social programming for our youth and their developmental needs.
I am tired of children and the second most important people in their life - their teachers and supporting staff—be treated with such disregard.
However, I am not too tired to fight for them! Are you?