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Letter Writer Urges 'Yes' Vote in Tuesday's Referendum

Says people will lose jobs, World Language instruction in grades 4 to 6 will be reduced by 50 percent, and other sacrifices will be made if $800K is not restored

Editor's note: The following letter was received about the referendum on Tuesday in which voters will be asked if $800,000 cut from the Board of Education's proposed 2011-12 budget by the Representative Town Meeting should be restored.

As a taxpayer, and parent of two children in public school I have, over the years, spent a great deal of my free time educating myself about the town budget process, particularly as it relates to the school system. I have stayed up late at endless budget meetings, taking away from precious family time and spending a great deal of money in babysitting fees, but I have always felt it was worth it. This past budget season was particularly arduous, and I watched with dismay as first the Board of Selectmen cut Supt. of Schools David Title’s extremely responsible budget by $2 million, a reduction which was then approved by the Board of Finance. I knew that many Representative Town Meeting members had discussed cutting the school budget further (and yes, it is a “cut,” not a “reduction of an increase” – these town bodies cut Dr. Title’s proposed budget for 2011-12), but I hoped it would not come to pass.

At the April 25 RTM meeting, then-First Selectman Ken Flatto, Board of Finance Chairman Tom Flynn and Selectman Jim Walsh all urged the RTM to not make any further reductions. Unfortunately, on May 2nd, the RTM did, by the slimmest of margins – 22-20 in favor of a $800,000 cut – and Dr. Title and the Board of Education were left to decide what they needed to reduce to make up the $2.8 million.

After many meetings and much discussion, staff and program reductions were approved by a majority of the Board of Education. People will lose their jobs, World Language will be reduced by 50 percent for grades 4, 5 and 6, and other sacrifices will be made.

There are many people who believe that the Board of Education budget should have come in with a 0 percent increase, but that was an impossible goal – due to contractual obligations (including a raise for teachers approved by the present RTM), over 100 more students in the system in the coming school year, as well as increases in basic costs of running the school district such as fuel, heating, electricity, etc. – without making serious reductions in the quality of the programs offered to the 10,000+ students in Fairfield Public Schools.

Nothing can bring the school budget back to the level requested by Dr. Title, but the $800,000 cut voted on by the RTM can be reversed if the proposed referendum for June 14 passes, so please vote “Yes.”

Thank you,

Jessica Gerber

Fairfield, CT

Anybody But June 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Vote YES on June 14th!!!
Heather Dean June 13, 2011 at 09:53 AM
Vote Yes on June 14!
Joeseph Biff June 13, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Heather, You sound like a broken record.Why don't you and your cohorts donate the $800.000 .This way you can save those who are unemployed,on fixed incomes and strugggling to make ends meet the extra tax burden this will create.Too bad we live in aa age where some people are used to getting everything that demand,even at the cost to others.
Joeseph Biff June 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Don't worry Ann Pasco,the $800,000 will be restored.With all the PR this referendum has been getting it's most likely going to be a big win for you and those who's jobs you are trying to protect.And that is the ONLY reason you took out that big ad in the paper.After all,you are the president of the teachers union.You're just looking out for their jobs,which is basically your function and only concern. Is eliminating 1.0 media clerical staff member going to affect a students ability to learn? Media clerical staff....give me a break! Just one example of waste.
Stanley Simpleton June 13, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Let's teach our children FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY - Vote NO on June 14th.
Joeseph Biff June 13, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Stanley, Please get the word out to any senoirs,folks who are struggling financially,etc. to get out and vote NO tomorrow.It's going to be hard to win since the YES machine is so big in numbers.We need every vote.
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:15 PM
I concur! Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
Fairfield Resident June 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Vote NO on June 14th!!!!!
P.I. June 13, 2011 at 01:12 PM
I did not hear how much the $800k will cost in taxes. Is it safe to presume $20 per taxpayer since that is what they claim we will save? Everyone must pay their fair share whether they utilize the service or not. That's how our government works.
Joeseph Biff June 13, 2011 at 07:21 PM
The president of the teachers union and everyone else who wants to vote yes should look at what's taking place in other parts of the country.They are instituting pay to play sports,eliminating music,certain sports programs,etc.I do not favor those types of cuts.However we can cut the following (as listed by Anne Pasco,union president) without harming eduacation:.1.0 library media position,1.0media clerical staff,2 library paraprofessionals.Just a few examples of non essential ,meaningless positions that students really don't need and can get along just fine without.A big part of union president's job is to keep as many of it's members employed,no matter what,in other words,the more the merrier. So,we have it pretty darn good here if Fairfield when all we have to worry about is eliminating the positions I mentioned.Also,"world language" isn't needed until 7th grade.Let's teach the kids how to speak and write ENGLISH correctly first!They will have plenty of time to learn Spanish and what ever through out their school years.
momof3 June 13, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Vote Yes The RTM ignored the other town boards and the majority of the public that spoke during the budget meetings. They cut $800,000 from a lean budget that had already been cut by $2million dollars. I hear RTM members who voted in favor of the additional cut say they don't want to see our educational system suffer. They cut and then wiped their hands of what happened next--passed the buck to the BOE. To that I say, "You can't have it both ways." Dr. Title, the educational expert, told you that programming would be effected if the RTM cut more. The majority ignored him. As forewarned, services and the education our kids will suffer because of the additional cuts. The RTM members who voted in favor need to own that, and many aren't. Vote "Yes." Maybe then the message will finally be heard. This is a community that values education. We see it as an investment not only in the future of our kids, but in the future of this town.
Jim Gallagher June 14, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Five members of the Central Office Administration are receiving $109,490.00 in salary increases this year while classroom programs are being cut. This is more than just a little bit of insincerity.
momof3 June 14, 2011 at 03:26 AM
$109,490 each or together 5 are receiving an increase? When was the last time they got an increase? Did their job description change? Was this salary increase a part of the contracts the RTM approved? If so, there isn't much BOE can do about it now. Contracts are fixed costs. RTM approved it, but now has an issue with funding it?
G Hoffman June 14, 2011 at 05:12 AM
Please vote YES today! Why? Help send the message that we as a town value education as an investment. If the quality of education drops, so will our property values.
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 01:06 PM
More of the usual sky is falling drivel when it come to "kids suffering" . Our property values have already dropped,where have you been Hoffman?
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 01:14 PM
No more raises for the paper pushers at Central office.This nonsense has to stop.This BOE is so inept . The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.They all should be replaced.This is why we have residents squaring off against each other in this referendum.It should have never got to this point.There is so much that can be eliminated without affecting students,starting at the top,the central orafice(where our tax dollars get sucked into) .
Dermochelys coriacea June 14, 2011 at 01:40 PM
So why don't you run for office? BOE? you obviously have the time...
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 03:47 PM
And how do you know how much time I have when you don't evevn know me you stupid bozo?
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 03:49 PM
even
R. Ludlowe June 14, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Don't worry, Derm. Ole Pink treats everyone like this. Either that or his 5 year old grandson has taken over his keyboard. I dont think I've heard the term 'bozo' since Ike was in office. And Pinky, to answer your question, I think the assumption here is that all of your nonsensical and useless posts throughout the day lead others to believe that you have nothing better to do. Since you're so well educated in topics such as Education, Foreign language, and now apparently, Ancient Clowns of the 20th Century, why not run for the BOE? You might at least bring some comical relief...
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Dudlow, I noticed your post is during the day also, or maybe you're on lunch break from your NAMBLA meeting? You must be at least as old as me since you also know about bozo and Ike. I can't help it if I'm smart and you're not.Everyone now knows old Luddy is an admitted card carrying member of NAMBLA,an organization most folks have forgotten about,except old Ludlow.Check out his older posts.One has him so angry he resorts to profanity.A swearing NAMBLA member!! Right here on our own Patch. And BTW luddy duddy,I shouldn't have said the words weiner and boy in my other post,as I'm sure they were the cause of great titillation for you.
G Hoffman June 14, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Researching the issues and finding facts to arrive at an informed opinion, that's where I've been Snoopington. The drop in property values will be worse if nobody wants to move to Fairfield because of average schools. It's not a disaster scenario, but it would be a shame.
R. Ludlowe June 14, 2011 at 06:47 PM
You're a sick individual. I hope you haven't reproduced in any way.
Fairfield Resident June 14, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Vote Yes on June 14th
Joeseph Biff June 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM
You see Ludlow, It's like this: You say I'm very well educated in lanuage,education,etc. Okay,so be it.For once maybe you're correct. So here then is the difference bewtween you and I. I'm an expert and you're a pervert. Yes,I have reproduced.I'm growing a pod near your house.

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