Editor's note: The following letter was received from Kate Daniello, co-founder of We the People of Fairfield, a taxpayers' advocacy group.
It is always the same outcome no matter what any of the town boards do. If they vote to reduce the Board of Education's budget by a single amount, as the Board of Selectmen/Board of Finance did with their $2 million, they are criticized by the Board of Education for not providing detail as to where those reductions should come from. If they do provide detail as in the Representative Town Meeting's additional reduction of $800,000, they are criticized for having come up with the reductions in supposedly "secret meetings" and then the recommendations are often ignored by the BOE.
Supt. of Schools David Title's list of proposed cuts, which equal the total $2.8 million in reductions approved by town boards, include only some of the outlined recommendations from the RTM. Why? For example, what happened to the recommendation to:
1. Eliminate the Deputy Superintendent position and not replace him with a full time compliment.
2. Eliminate Curriculum Leaders and move the responsibility to full time teachers affected by curricula changes and make their day 1/2 curriculum leadership and 1/2 teacher.
Further, We the People has suggested since April that the Board of Education and Dr. Title consider:
1. Reducing the number of houses at the high schools from 3 houses at each to 2. WTP has backed off an earlier request to eliminate the house system all together because Dr. Title has stated that he is not in favor of it and there is not enough time to implement it in this year’s budget. However, WTP still feels that the town of Fairfield has the luxury of 2 high schools, and since the number of students at each high school is relatively low, 3 houses at each is overkill. Each Fairfield high school has approximately 1,400 students, while the town of Greenwich has only one high school with over 3,000 students.
2. We also suggested that Dr. Gary Rosato, director of Curriculum Assessment and Instruction, be moved into a Assistant Superintendent role with all of his current responsibilities.
3. Eliminate the cost of hiring principals to run the summer school program.
4. Redo the Prismatic audit's teacher survey to see what recommendations they might have for improving the overall efficiency of the educational system.
Dr. Title has said that he would eliminate the proposal to charge a fee for high school students to play on sports teams and reinstate what is proposed to be cut from foreign language instruction in grades 4 to 6 if $800,000 is restored to the school budget through the townwide referendum.
WTP would like to know why these items are even being considered as reductions? What about the things mentioned above which would have little or no impact on direct student education?
Please join We the People of Fairfield and vote NO in the Referendum to put $800,000 back into the education budget. Contact WTP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-255-3960.
Kate Daniello, co-founder We the People of Fairfield