Thursday, May 30, 2024

A Cautionary Teacher’s Tale

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Letter to the Editor

by Kim McQuilton Perillo

I have been asked to post the speech I read Monday at the Town Ordinance Committee Meeting.  The budget sent to the council will devastate our Stratford School System

Hi again,

It’s me, Kim Perillo from Stratford. This seems like our 3rd date, after all, on the first I told you about me, on the second I asked you questions about yourselves, so now on the third, I’m going to tell you a story. Please listen carefully because I’m sure the ending will have you saying “oh no!” and “ we agree with you!”

Once upon a time, it was a beautiful Friday, Spring afternoon. Schools were buzzing with kids working on fun Spring projects, teachers were excited because the sun was shining, moods had lifted, and the whole atmosphere seemed different.

When all of a sudden, 30+ teachers (teachers who are new and enthusiastic, teachers with several years of experience who love the day-to-day exchanges with their kids and veterans with years of experience but new to the district.) are called to report to the office.

Once there, they are told, in the kindest way possible, that although they are needed, that the children of our District need them, there is no longer room in the budget for them. WOW! Not only are these non-tenured teachers told the children need them and the District can’t afford them, but they are told they are being non-renewed, which means, they will not be getting a call back even if a position opens for them. They are to be unemployed and can reapply if they want to come back to the District that just cut them. Do you think any will? I’m guessing not. Now, back to our story…

Well word spreads quickly throughout the land. The atmosphere that was a little more positive has now changed drastically. For you see, these are not only our friends and colleagues, these are people who do what’s best for kids and if they are being cut, who’s next?

OH NO! It’s only April, the budget hasn’t been passed and already 30+ people have lost their jobs. What does May have in store…oh that’s right, a budget on the table that is so woefully inadequate that the possibility of dozens of others losing their jobs looms real, teachers will be shifted out of buildings and grades they have known for years due to bumps caused by eliminating the reading and math coaches and the librarians. So what you’ll get is a staff that will need to learn new levels of curriculum while trying to teach it, larger class sizes, less support for our neediest students, fewer resources for teachers,  students and families. That sounds like a stellar way to improve test scores and take care of kids!

What happened to “consistency is what kids need and is best for them?”

SO we the teachers,  counselors, administrators, and parents have been asking our crystal balls, although the answer is crystal clear but because every good story has a little magic in it we asked anyway, and you know what it revealed?….Oh that’s right it’s a year when some members of the Board of Education decided NOW was the time to be drastically, irresponsibly, fiscally “responsible”. An election year when those with the power have to take care of those who can vote and not worry about the ones who can’t.

It is now up to you to write the ending of this story. Will you be a villain and it be a sad story, one where children suffer and our town’s education system loses because you pass the pitiful budget that the Republican BOE members sent to you? Or will you be the heroes of this story, save the day, do what’s right for children, teachers and the town of Stratford and pass the original budget that the Acting Superintendent asked for?

Villain or Hero, you have the power to choose.

BE THE HERO!

1 COMMENT

  1. This was a very powerful read, your testimony and tale, from the eyes of our students and staff. Thank you for your passion, and I sure hope we see more heroes than villains!

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