Thursday, April 25, 2024

Bankrupt Stratford Part 1

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by David Chess

Stratford is already a financially distressed town, Our schools are already in the Alliance District (low performing schools). We are all heavily invested in Stratford.

Over the last 40 years of my residence in Stratford I have watched the steady decline of the education system. I have witnessed year over year budget concerns taking precedence in our decision making, always trumping the needs of our children.

This year is no exception. With this new budget we will eliminate math and reading tutors, eliminate librarians, eliminate the Alpha program, a very successful program which houses children who have not been able to participate in classes because of disruptive behavior, and has successfully engaged many of these children, being able to help them and eventually mainstream a good portion of them.

All of this will put additional stress on our already over burdened teachers. We will lose many of our best and it will be incredibly difficult to recruit new and qualified ones to our schools. There is already a state-wide shortage of over 2000 teachers.

Here is the breakdown:

$(75,000) Estimated additional retirement savings based on known intents as of Feb 21, 2024
$ (400,000) Reduce Science of Reading funding for FY25; can use Alliance/ESSER
$ (14,470) Reduce district textbook account for geometry books; already entered by high schools in their budgets.
$ (8,500) Reduce SPED Supplies to return to level-funding
$ (8,360) Reduce all office supply accounts back to level-funding
$ (75,000) Eliminate 1.0 District Floater Secretary
$ (68,864) Eliminate Greeter positions (3)
$ (148,820) Eliminate 2.0 FTE Elementary Assistant Principals (salaries and benefit savings)
$ (150,000) Eliminate 2.0 FTE High School Library Teachers (will add media tutors)
$ (548,800) Eliminate 7.0 Elementary Library Teachers (will add media tutors)
$ (203,500) Eliminate 3.7 Math Coaches
$ (35,000) -estimated benefits
$ (836,000) Eliminate 15.2 Reading Coaches
$ (185,000) -estimated benefits
$ (150,000) Reduce 2.0 FTE Supervisors (salaries and benefit savings)

ALPHA Program

$ (240,000) acct 0501 4.1 FTEs
$ (60,000) 0530 – CIAs – $60,000
$ (60,000) 0550-SW – $80,000
$ (30,000) climate specialist

We are constantly taking away the programs which support our children most in need.  Those families with a strong home support system and the financial means will find a way to get their children what they need. They will pay for tutors and SAT programs etc.

We have already stripped away our magnet school. We have already stripped away our arts and music. We have already stripped away many of our advanced placement classes.

We already rank poorly in Reading, Math and Science. So how does this help.

Budgets are made by people. They are not sacred, and they reflect the choices of a community.

It is time for a referendum. Do we want more garbage pickups, police and other services, or do we want better schools and opportunities for our children. We need to make choices. I know most of us would and do invest in our children.

Please do not Bankrupt our schools!! Please let the Mayor, Town Council and Board of Education leadership know that these cuts are not acceptable. Please support a referendum on our spending choices.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, a referendum is needed. The majority members of our Board of Ed clearly are not hearing what the public is saying: Stratford wants and needs a quality school system. For our young people first, but also for the success and reputation of our community. Who will want to live in Stratford? Certainly not people with children. Our property values will plummet as our town is recognized as a town with a broken school system.

    • As always Paula you are observant and interested in the Town of Stratford.
      Thank you for your viliangece.

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