The following Letter to Editor was submitted by :
It seems like yesterday in an with concerned citizens that Mayor LaRosa and the Town Council voted unanimously to support the voters right to have a referendum to renovate . The same evening, Mayor LaRosa and the Town Council promised Education would be a priority for them.
Unfortunately, at the last budget session, the Mayor and the Town Council request by a total of $300,000. Statements and comments by Mayor LaRosa and several councilors related to the BOE budget process, surplus and test scores were factually inaccurate and dismissive to the hard work by the Board of Education, the public who all spoke in favor of not cutting the BOE and the countless hours and efforts by the volunteer group who have given hundreds of hours and their own money for the to renovate Rocky Hill High School. The most disappointing and dismissive statement was when Mayor LaRosa stated that “....the reason we are on warning list is because we have curriculum problems. The question is how are they (BOE) spending the money,"
Mayor LaRosa, you know very well that is not the case and that the facts are clear that the reason Rocky Hill High School by NEASC is due to the .
Throughout the week, I have been approached by many who to are disappointed withe the Mayor's comments and with the cut to the BOE termed "" by the Town Council. Councilor Sylvestro's assertion that the cut to the BOE is nominal and won't impact education is not based on fact. It is any thing but "nominal". This cut may very well impact the needed funding for an additional teacher for , and a district-wide math coordinator included in the BOE budget. Mayor LaRosa's statement that "...if it were up to me I would cut it a lot more...another $75,000” clearly confuses me and others as to how that is making education a priority.
The facts are very clear. The BOE budget proposed a 3.5% increase compared to a 7.2% for the Town and when your exclude principal and interest on the town’s debt, the submitted Town budget of controllable expenses is up 8.7%. This is all happening as the for Education is on a consistent decline in our town. Rocky Hill's Per Pupil spend has declined decline from 72 to 122 over the past 10 years. There are a total of 166 school districts in the state. All towns that border Rocky Hill; Berlin, Glastonbury, Newington, Cromwell and Wethersfield all fund education higher. As a result, in some towns this allows them to provide all day kindergarten.
While spending the most in the state does not guarantee higher test scores, the trend for Rocky Hill over the past 10 years is very concerning. Coupled with the High School Accreditation being placed on warning and the unacceptable conditions of our school buildings due to the town’s decision to defer maintenance and underfund capital improvements, impacts a family decision to move to Rocky Hill. The Town, children and our future all deserve better. The Town Council needs to make education a priority, fund the school system and fund capital improvements for our schools.
Thank you to Larrye DeBear who was the sole Councilor to vote against the cut to the Board of Education budget. His actions and comments clearly show his priority to education.
I urge the Mayor and Town Council to set the record straight, make education a priority and vote to reverse their cut and fund the Board of Education budget.