Stuart Macdonald 0

Protect our Childrens Education

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As residents and voters in the Town of Wallingford, we are signing this petition to show our dismay with the cuts contained within the proposed Education budget for 2010-2011. Although we understand that Wallingford, like other municipalities, is faced with fiscal challenges - we do not believe that the ones who should suffer should be our children. The Education budget as proposed by the Board of Education and Dr. Menzo will have a negative impact on our most valuable resource - our children.


The notion that just maintaining the "status quo" in an Education system is appalling. Unfortunately, in order to even maintain the "status quo", it will result in a roughly 9% increase in the Education budget as compared to the prior year. Since when was it ever appropriate to maintain the "status quo" ? As elected officials, you should be saddened by the fact that you have challenged the Board of Education and Dr. Menzo to reduce staffing and services for our children in order to lower the budget increase resulting from just maintaining the existing level of services.


Historically, the percentile increases in the education budget submitted to the Mayor and Town Council have been reduced by a substantial amount. Therefore, we commend Dr. Menzo and the Board of Education for attempting to be fiscally responsible and taking steps to provide a proposed budget with a much smaller increase. Dr. Menzo made some extremely difficult decisions in his proposed budget. Although some of the ideas may be progressive and indeed manageable, the notion that we should reduce staffing and services for our children is not acceptable. No matter how the notion of staffing and services reductions is rationalized - it should not be acceptable. Not acceptable to the Town Council. Not acceptable to the Mayor. Most definitely not acceptable to the residents and voters in the Town of Wallingford.


We would like to challenge the Town Council and Mayor to communicate to the Board of Education and Dr. Menzo their understanding that the Education Budget is going to increase - and increase dramatically. Nobody is going to suggest that a 9% Education budget increase is palatable to residents and taxpayers, but reductions can be found in the budget via other changes than staffing and service reductions - such as the proposed plan to change the structure of the elementary schools. We would like to recommend to the Town Council and Mayor that they accept that the Education budget is going to increase and that the Superintendent should not be put in a position where he is forced to reduce necessary services to meet drastic cuts that will be forced upon them by the Town Council and Mayor.


Please understand that our primary concern is for the sake and well-being of our children. Please work with the Board of Education and Dr. Menzo on determining a viable budgetary increase that maintains the services our children deserve. As parents, our primary issue is in ensuring that our children receive the education that they need to succeed in life. As such, any plans to reduce staffing and services can reduce the tools our children are learning to succeed in life.


As residents, voters and taxpayers we understand that budget increases are not palatable to many. However, we feel strongly that the Town Council and Mayor need to step up and support the Superintendent and Board of Education in whatever way possible. We understand that a 9% budget increase is not manageable. But, the Town Council and Mayor should find a way to ensure that the children of our town receive all the same services and staffing support that they currently receive.


The budget proposed just maintains (and does not enhance) the existing level of staffing and services. Despite economic turmoil, as elected officials you should never feel that maintaining the "status quo" for our children is acceptable. As a voter, resident and taxpayer - please find a way on our behalf to remedy these planned cuts.


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