‘Fix it First’ is disappointing; support BoE at ‘turning point’

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This is an open letter from the PTOC: 

The PTO Council was disappointed to hear of an alternate building proposal released Monday by several city and state officials. This plan draws on outdated facilities studies; fails to adequately address the future needs of our school district and is timed to intentionally derail the BOE from meeting mandated deadlines with the State Department of Education, ensuring that no action is taken to address the condition of our failing school facilities for another year. This event took place without the knowledge of our Superintendent and most of our elected Board of Education. 

The plan put forward by the Board of Education has been carefully prepared, publicly vetted, well-researched, and professionally drawn. It does not address every need in every school. We understand that. It does, however, address many of our most urgent needs as a district. Parents, especially those at Jefferson Elementary, know that our schools are well beyond capacity. Just last month we added more than 50 children to our already strained classrooms. We currently spend millions of dollars busing kids from one end of town to the other. This money would be better spent in our schools.

We are at a turning point in this city, where we need to choose between maintaining substandard facilities or committing to a generational buildout of our school system. These new schools will not only be a source of pride for our city but act as a hallmark of the kind of community we envision passing down to our children. The PTO Council stands behind the facilities plan created and approved by the Board of Education.

We are grateful to hear from Chairman Lyons that discussions with the Mayor and other city officials continue and we remain hopeful that a compromise can be reached that serves the best interest of our children.

We urge parents not to let the turmoil of the past few days distract us from the upcoming discussions regarding the operating budget and with moving our facilities plan forward.

We ask that all parents show up in support of the operating budget on Thursday, February 23rd, 7pm at City Hall in the Common Council Chambers.

Please take 5 minutes to email the policy makers at City Hall a statement of support for our school operating budget and facilities plan at the following addresses:

Common Council- [email protected]

Board of Estimation & Taxation- (Mayor Rilling sits on this board) [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Finance Director, Robert Barron- [email protected]

Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Laoise King- [email protected]

Please cc the Board of Education on your email: [email protected]

Thank you for your continued support of our schools!

Michael J. Byrne, President

Drew Todd, Vice President

Barbara Meyer-Mitchell, Secretary

Jessica Garnett, Director of Communications

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