To the Editor:
The Executive Committee of the Republican Town Committee is happy to add its support to the growing number of voices in favor of the proposal of Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera to establish an “After the Bell” program to serve the District 99 students in South Norwalk. Here’s why we think it is important:
Many students currently are without the opportunity to participate in after-school activities because they have to spend so much time just getting home from school. That is because of an accident of districting and the use of Columbus as a magnet school rather than a neighborhood school.
But while investing in the South Norwalk Community Center’s infrastructure is a good idea, it is to be hoped that the unfortunate disputes with other community groups are in the past. We are not sure that they are, based on recent turf squabbles, but Dr. Rivera’s personal hand in the program may well overcome any local management difficulties.
The Board of Education’s establishment of such a program at Dr. Rivera’s suggestion is a wise move. And the decision of the Republican leadership of the Common Council to pursue (for the second year in a row) a significant grant application for SoNCC, despite ample political reasons not to, is to their credit. It is further evidence of the Republican Party’s goal of making Norwalk a better place overall, and belief that there is no room for politicians who seek to benefit personally, as is sometimes the case with some members of the opposing party’s caucus.
We are also pleased to have received a letter of support from Harold Bonnet, chairman of the South Norwalk District of the Republican Town Committee. His participation in this effort is important, as is the support shown by the entire South Norwalk Republican Committee. The support of local political leaders and parents is crucial to the overall success of the program.
The Executive Committee of the Republican Town Committee believes in appropriate investment and appropriate use of grant funding to support our educational system, promote families, and prevent youth from becoming ensnared in drugs and gang violence. All of these goals will be advanced through the After the Bell program. We thank Dr. Rivera for his creativity and leadership on this issue.
Peter M. Nolin
Vice Chair, Norwalk RTC