Letter: Not on the right path, but we can be

To the Editor:

As a newcomer to Trumbull, I must say my family has fallen in love with our neighborhood and schools. We are excited about our future here in New England and look forward to our children enjoying all that this region has to offer. For those who don’t know me, I serve on the Jane Ryan PTA and the Trumbull PTSA Council. I work full-time so keeping that connection with the school system helps me be more present in my kids’ lives. And, frankly put, the kids like seeing Mom at their school.

It was through Jane Ryan Elementary that I met one of the other moms that teamed up with me and seven others to create the website thevotemadeeasy.com earlier this year. Although entirely non-partisan, the site took some heat through this election and that is fine, it will remain a valuable resource.

Throughout the entire process, I’ve been able to glean some facts that have helped shaped my view on this particular Board of Finance seat. Come July 22, I will cast my first vote in Connecticut and that vote will be for Lainie McHugh.

Having attended a variety of town meetings, I chose to compile the past ten years of Town of Trumbull budgets and this is what I found:

• In the prior 5 years of Democratic leadership, the average change to the overall Trumbull Annual Budget was negative (.6%) per year. In the most recent five years under current leadership, the annual change was an increase of .52%.

• In the prior 5 years of Democratic leadership, the non-education budget annual increase was 3.8%. In the most recent 5 years, it has been 7.7%, including a 20% increase to non-education budget in 2013/14.

• Under Democratic leadership and control, the education budget increased an average of 5%. Under current leadership, 2.48%.

• In the last five years of Democratic leadership, the town budget increased a total of $26.7 million. Under Republican leadership, $33 million.

• In the last five years of Democratic leadership, the town side budget increased $8.5 million. Under the last five years of Republican leadership, the town side budget has increased $22. million.

Above are the numbers from the past ten years, taken directly from the Town of Trumbull budget documents located here: http://www.trumbull-ct.gov/content/10623/10655/10936/.

I believe our ‘bread and butter’ is ‘great schools.’ High school SAT scores have declined, in line with beleaguered funding. We need fiscal responsibility first, transparency second and collegial political discourse reinstated. As a southerner, I’ve witnessed far too much unamiable behavior toward our neighbors and that needs to stop.

I’m hopeful these true and verifiable numbers empower you to make a solid, responsible choice. We are not on the right path currently, but we can be. My vote will be going to Lainie McHugh on July 22. I hope you join me.

Paige Francis