There still seems to be confusion about the impact that underfunding has in Ansonia School District.
While it can be claimed that factual numbers are being used as a political ploy, the fact of the matter is the numbers do not lie.
None of the columns I have written were meant to persuade residents to vote for one candidate over the other. I write to make Ansonia better, and right now the school district is hurting, badly.
There was a time in Ansonia, not too long ago, when every school had a dedicated art teacher and a dedicated music teacher. This is no longer the case. Now, we are down to three music teachers for four schools. At the elementary level, the music teacher spends half the year at Prendergast, and half the year at Mead.
I have had the pleasure of speaking with a lot of my old teachers as well, and what I heard from them was sickening.
In Ansonia, first year teachers are forced to receive pink slips, as a precaution. I can’t even begin to imagine the torment this must cause, especially considering how many teachers have families that they have to provide for.
Another topic I want to bring up as well is the budget that Mrs. DeLibero used in her article.
In what I can only assume was an attempt to mislead residents, Mrs. DeLibero claims that Ansonia School District was funded 100 percent.
What she fails to mention is, within the budget she was referencing, nearly nine teaching positions were cut.
As for the $40,000 surplus that was returned to the city, we have the business manager at the school district to thank for that.
The business manager forecasts and tracks spending trends, and when it appears that the district is going to go into a deficit, spending is frozen.
By law, the Board of Education can’t go into a deficit unlike the city has. When the city overspends like they have in the past, they can pull from the reserve fund.
The Board of Education does not have this luxury; they legally have to have money left over. If this $40,000 surplus shows anything, it is that the Board of Education is more responsible with their spending than the city is. Not to mention, this surplus accounts for 0.15 percent of the district’s budget.
Rewind two years ago, and Mayor Cassetti makes an ultimatum with the school district, proclaiming he will only support education if the school district switches to an HSA.
Essentially, the Mayor wanted to have teachers on the same insurance as the city employees. He failed to realize was that this approach would’ve actually been more expensive. The city is supposed to stay out of BOE business, but this was direct interference.
You can’t write about how the Ansonia School District is doing fine, when in reality Ansonia teachers are paid the lowest in New Haven County, and are the seventh lowest paid in Connecticut. I implore all parents to look into their children’s education, and see how truly gifted and dedicated their children’s teachers are.
These men and women are responsible for shaping every youth life in Ansonia, isn’t it time we gave them the compensation they deserve?
The writer, a 2015 graduate of Ansonia High School, is currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. The views expressed are those of the individual and not those of the Department of Defense.
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