Redding is facing the perfect storm of reduced support from Hartford, a demographic shift at Barlow, and rising costs in our elementary schools. The Board of Finance is to be commended for their efforts to minimize the impact of these pressures. The proposed 3.4% increase in spending is necessary to maintain our values of open spaces, top quality schools, and support for our senior residents.
Day: May 1, 2018
As a Redding resident for over 35 years, I care about and support Redding. But I also believe a town budget should serve all of its residents.
From a peak in 2008, enrollment in our schools has declined 33%, with a projected further decrease of about 38 students next year. Over that time, the school budget has continued to increase. Yet, in the past two years, the Board of Education ran surpluses of over $800,000 and $600,000, respectively. I don’t understand how a further increase can be justified.
A small town like Redding has limited funds. If the schools get a larger share, the rest of the town (our roads, the Mark Twain Library, Park and Recreation, Heritage Center, health and human services) get less.
I urge voters vote NO on the budget referendum! Our taxes should work for all residents!
41 Sullivan Drive
When my wife and I were looking to buy a home 10 years ago, there were many appealing aspects that drew us to Redding, none more so than the quality of its schools. However, it has been frustrating over the last several budget cycles to see the children of Redding being expected to shoulder the burden of having to offset increased budgets in other areas of the town by accepting minimal to no increase in the school budget. Each year, the cost just to maintain the quality of our schools naturally grows due in part to contractual obligations, as well as increased costs for insurance and transportation. Additionally, towns across CT are receiving less state aid, which means the responsibility to make up the difference falls on towns, like Redding. In short, if our schools operate under the same budget from year to year, there will be cuts. Over the past several years, the results of a minimal to no increase in the school budget began in the form of cuts to office staff, then later to cuts in paraprofessionals/teaching assistants, and more recently to teachers and programs. As a teacher in another district, I have seen the negative effects of underfunding schools and causing districts to have to do more with less. Smaller class sizes, music and the arts, enrichment programs, and support staff who can check in with students dealing with a variety of social and emotional stressors, shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury. These are all elements in educating the whole child, that are widely viewed as “best practices” and are supported by research. I would like to thank the BOE and BOF for their hard work in creating a sensible budget that focuses on the needs of our children while continuing to be financially responsible. Please join me in supporting the budget and Redding’s children on May 8th.
Black Rock Turnpike