Letter: Vote yes for school budget, appropriation

5
22

To the editor,

As you may be aware the [Region 16] school budget vote is coming up next week. Right now it is scheduled for Monday, May 5 at 7 p.m. at Woodland Regional High School. It is scheduled to be a ballot vote and you must be present (with your photo ID) to vote. On the ballot are two items, the first is whether or not approve the Region 16 operating budget for 2014-2015. The second item is to approve the use of surplus money for this year for the high school roof project. I am asking that you vote yes for both of these items.

Should a petition be signed and submitted to the towns of Prospect or Beacon Falls by Friday, the vote may be pushed to a referendum on Tuesday, May 6 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting would take place at the Prospect Firehouse for Prospect residents and at Laurel Ledge Elementary School for Beacon Falls residents.

I urge you to get out and vote and let your voices be heard. Each time the vote goes to referendum it costs $6,000. We voted on our school budget three times last year at an expense of $18,000. Please support the school budget vote and the WRHS roof project with a yes vote.

Thank you,

Lisa Sizer

Beacon Falls

Laurel Ledge PTO President

5 COMMENTS

  1. Lisa Sizer, not trying to a bad guy (even though I am continuously being labeled as) or calling someone out, but as PTO President for Laurel Ledge can you please answer any of the questions I posted earlier on this and over the last 4 or 5 articles on CN online or why you are not going ballistic over the 43 place drop in Laurel Ledge??

  2. As stated in my prior posts regarding the school budget and the BOE, others including myself have seen reports in papers and on various sites indicating that the money we are spending is not translating into an education process that allows children to succeed going forward after leaving the Region. One such site (http://www.schooldigger.com/go/CT/schoolrank.aspx) cites numbers of state rankings that while show improvements in some areas, show very questionable issues / holes in what the BOE is selling the parents. Boiled down here are some of the numbers.

    CT Elementary School Rankings 3rd & 4th Grades Combined CMT Mathematics & CMT Reading 2012-2013
    Laurel Ledge ranks 299 out of 514. Rank change from 2012 = down 43
    The other elementary schools in our Region do not even show a ranking because their math and reading scores were not current.

    CT Middle School Rankings 7th & 8th Grades Combined CMT Mathematics & CMT Reading 2012-2013
    Long River Middle ranks 95 out of 266. Rank change from 2012 = up 6

    CT High School Rankings 10th Grade CAPT Mathematics & CAPT Reading Across the Disciplines 2012-2013
    Woodland Ranks 77 out of 194. Rank change from 2012 = up 19

    Region 16 as a whole ranks 91 out of 164 districts

    Given that we hear nothing but great things from the BOE, I find these numbers are just disturbing. How are these numbers great?? So the BOE’s next argument will be spend more equals better results. But they have been increasing the budget every year, is there actual tangible benefits as many of us have asked the BOE for years and been (quite honestly) rudely chased out of meetings for??

    From a February 23, 2014 article from the Windsor Patch – 16 CT School Districts with Lowest Per Pupil Spending
    (from most to least)
    16 Shelton – ranked 59 0f 164 districts
    15 Meriden – ranked 146 of 164 districts
    14 Hebron – ranked 50 of 164 districts
    13 Tolland – ranked 30 of 164 districts
    12 New Milford
    11 East Hartford – ranked 151 of 164 districts
    10 West Haven – ranked 142 of 164 districts
    9 RHAM
    8 Danbury – ranked 134 of 164 districts
    7 Woodstock – ranked 82 of 164 districts
    6 New Britain – ranked 159 of 164 districts
    5 Sterling –ranked 107 of 164 districts
    4 Ansonia – ranked 150 of 164 districts
    3 Wolcott – ranked 54 of 164 districts
    2 Marlborough – ranked 45 of 164 districts
    1 Ellington – ranked 61 of 164 districts

    Region 16 ranked 91 of 164 districts. How can this be?? How can the BOE honestly say we are improving when 7 out of the 16 lowest spending districts rank better than us with another 2 just barely better than us??? No matter if you use the old math we were taught going to school or the new they are teaching, we are no better than ½ of the worst spending districts.
    Yes there have been improvements as I honestly showed in rank changes in Long River and Woodland and there will be those that say with the new Prospect Elementary school there will be improvement there. Ok – believe it or not at your own risk and will take time for those numbers to become apparent. But to be honest with all the money being spent, I would think you can honestly expect to see similar number improvement with Long River as with Woodland. So I am honestly not impressed with Long River increase and in my opinion at best call it even.

    BUT what happened to Laurel Ledge?? Down 43 in 1 year?? BOE what is the reasoning that you want us to believe for the bottom falling out of that box??

    I have huge concerns with what I and many people see a continuing process of throwing money at a process with no solid numbers that jump out at you showing that they are indeed on a process and should be allowed to continue as they have. The fact is that if independent and honestly researched, the numbers show breakeven / bare minimum improvement at best, startling issues at worst.

    Then given the chronic mismanagement on such items such as the roof, etc where the roof could / should have been addressed under warranty conditions but was let go and now they expect the citizens to pay for their mismanagement?? If they were private sector managers they would have been fired.

    And what is even worse to me is that neither the BOE NOR the Superintendent believe they have to answer any of our questions. My questions have gone unanswered for the last several years. They are elected officials and need to be held accountable ESPECIALLY given that they think they are not.

    Remember a vote no is not against education for the kids. Don’t let those who blindly follow what they are being told with no proof with mounting evidence stating just the opposite bully you into believing a NO vote is against education or the kids. A vote NO means for the BOE to do their job correctly and be held accountable.

  3. The school budget is out of line, period! Lets star all over. Lets think about teaching our kids first, not last. Get rid of tenured for teachers. With tenure you have ten lazy worker and one thats doing there job. Get retired professionals to teach , give them a modest income or give them a tax break. Then spend some time looking for some great teachers. I personally think that having retired professionals teaching our kids would give our kids a better look at the outside world.

  4. Interesting challenge voting this year. Now that the ballot has been split into to separate voting days with the vote over the surplus Monday Night at Woodland, and the actual school budget Tuesday at referendum, this might end up in a conflict. One might expect that people will not show up tonight as how to use the surplus puts money back in the taxpayers pocket either way. Voters may not actually care which way it ends up and stay home. Imagine that the surplus vote passes tonight with a small attendance, then the budget fails at referendum. the Board of Education will have to make real cuts in the budget as the surplus funds will not be on the table to choose from. Visa versa, the surplus vote fails, again because of lite attendance, and the school budget passes. What happens to the approximately $240,000 surplus?

  5. PTO President Lisa Sizer implies the $18,000 cost of three referendums last year was a waste of Region 16 funds; however, if you were a taxpayer in Region 16, it was money well spent. Because of those referendums, our Board of Education reduced last year’s budget by several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The biggest problem in this annual dance is not the referendum, which should be automatic when a school district is confiscating this much money from taxpayers, it’s the uninformed voter. The misguided PTO, which this year has already begun planting signs and carrying water for the unions, try to convince parents and others with children in Region 16 there is a correlation between the amount of money spent and the quality of education their children receive. That is simply not true. The majority of these budget increases simply go towards bigger paychecks and fatter pensions for teachers and a bloated support staff and for 10 year old failed roofs thanks to incompetent school management.