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Letter: Democrats strongly oppose Kellogg’s budget cut for education

To the Editor:

The $500,000 cut that the First Selectman has proposed to the Board of Education budget is at best, dishonest, and at worst, denigrating the quality of the Monroe public school system. The Board of Education Republican majority wouldn’t cut deeper than $500,000 knowing the impact will have a direct effect on our students and valued school system.

In his budget presentation, Ken Kellogg justified this cut by referencing two residents, but never mentioned the thousands of children and families in our community who moved here for our award-winning schools. His lackadaisical approach to education was also evidenced by his refusal to look at the residents who voiced their concerns at the meeting.

This $500,000 cut comes from the chief elected official of Monroe, who did not attend a single minute of the 17 hours of public session that the Board of Education held to discuss the budget.

We, the Board of Education Democrats, voted strongly against the first $500,000 cut. As a full Board we examined each and every one of the 2,000-plus line items in the budget and couldn’t find more money to cut. The last-minute cut by the Board majority does not match the workshops we had.

We are also strongly opposed to the First Selectman’s new $500,000 cut. We believe that an honest budget should be put out to the voters to be voted on. Let us put out a budget that says to the people this is what we need to run our school system.

If the voters vote it down, then we can discuss these austere cost-cutting measures. The possibility of teacher reductions, larger class sizes, and fewer support services are a direct impediment to the superb quality education that Monroe’s students deserve.

We have an automatic budget referendum in Monroe for a reason. Let the voters vote on an honest budget. We call on the Board of Finance to restore the $1,000,000 in cuts and let the voters of Monroe weigh in with their vote.

On a standard household with a $270,000 assessment, if Kellogg’s $500K cut is restored, would tack on about $1.19 per household per week to the tax bill. If Kellogg’s $500K cut and the BOE’s $500K cut are both restored, this would result in an additional $2.35 per week per household on tax bills.

As a town, we must ask ourselves, is our children’s education worth $2.35 per week per household? We, the Board of Education Democrats, would answer this question with a resounding yes.

Monroe Board of Education Members,

Alan Vaglivelo

Jerry Stevens

Nicholas Kapoor