Policy Advisory Committee Chair addresses 'myths'

To the Editor:

I have recently received some questions from parents and community members in regards to the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), Policy on Policy and The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE). Concerns for where this committee is heading was very apparent at our last meeting on April 9. As a member for the past 10 years and current chairperson of the committee, I would like to comment on some of the myths that are floating around town.

First I would like people to know that PAC is an ad-hoc committee to the Trumbull Board of Education (BOE). The Board of Education considers policy needs expressed by students, parents, staff, residents and board members, and the board is ultimately responsible for developing policy. At no time has PAC written/revised or rescinded policy without the input or endorsement of the Board of Education.

Recently CABE was requested to attend one of our PAC Meetings to explain a comment that was announced at a Board of Education meeting, that we were not in line with State Statute as a committee. CABE explained that Trumbull was a “unique” community and that they have done nothing wrong by State Statute, in regards to policy procedures. It was then explained that many other communities function differently, not better, but differently. We were then informed that the voice of all seven members of the board want control of the way policy is handled in Trumbull, which is within their authority to handle.

The current process for Policy on Policy, and PAC is a collaboration among, educators, administrators, Board of Education representatives, students, parents, members at-large and, when necessary, the Board attorney. This committee has been in existence for approximately 20 years without incidence or complaint.

The proposed changes are that the current committee be disbanded and three Board of Education Members will be the policy makers, along with the Superintendent or his/her designee. They may or may not take input from the public, it will be up to the Board of Education to determine how this is handled.

Please note that PAC as a committee has always had the best interest of our Board of Education, students, parents, community members and staff in mind when reviewing/revising policy. I would also like to thank all the members of PAC: Parents, students, educators, administrators and members at-large, who collectively have approximately 40 years of experience on the committee.

I have enjoyed working with everyone past and present. I would also like to thank all previous Superintendent’s and BOE members who have allowed us to support the town and education system within the guidelines of this committee.

Dawn Cantafio