Letter: Disappointing budget approved by Board of Education

To the Editor:

I am disappointed by the 2016-2017 Trumbull Public Schools’ budget passed by the Board of Education last Tuesday. Their approved budget, which cut $377,177 from the Superintendent’s request, ignored priorities of both the Trumbull PTSA Council and the Superintendent.

The Board of Education should be advocating for our students and working to move the district forward. We elected these seven members to work together in the best interest of our students. The Board should be advocating to the First Selectman, Board of Finance and Town Council to help support the Superintendent’s budget request, not to reduce it less than a month after taking office.

With these cuts, the Board of Education did not put forth any quantitative goals to improve the school system as a whole, or to improve SBAC and SAT test scores that consistently place Trumbull at the bottom of our District Reference Group. Instead, a proposed increase in technology integration specialists (to help teachers integrate our very substantial technology investments into classroom learning) was cut. An increase to the curriculum line item was cut, although both science and social studies curricula need to be rewritten this year to adopt the new state standards. A plan to further reduce pay-to-participate fees was cut by $100,000, making the phase out of these fees now a five-year plan instead of three.

After we fulfill our contractual obligations to teachers, administrators, transportation and energy costs, there is even less money left to make improvements to the district – just 6.2% of the overall budget is now left for non-contractual items and expenses.

I urge the First Selectman to restore the $377,177 to the education budget, before he sends on his approved budget to the Board of Finance. The restored funds will allow Dr. Cialfi and his administrators to fulfill our contractual obligations, while working to strengthen curriculum and improve test scores – something we can all agree needs to happen.
Jen Kehley

President, Trumbull PTSA Council