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