Letter: Ansonia Should Give Back $600,000 To Schools

Shortly after dozens of concerned parents, teachers, and students rallied outside of Ansonia High School in hopes that elected officials would hear their cries, Team Cassetti and its lackey quickly passed off the event as a “political stunt for the Democratic Party.” Despite this being absolutely absurd, Ansonia Board of Apportionment and Taxation member, Republican Registrar of Voters, and Chairman of the Ansonia Republican Town Committee, David Papcin, showed sympathy for someone I also show sympathy for, the taxpayers of Ansonia.

For the past year or so, before the entire budget fiasco, I have continuously heard city officials say “We need to find creative ways to fund education” or “The taxpayers of Ansonia can’t afford this.” After thinking about it, I believe I have come up with a truly creative way to save the taxpayers money and fund the schools at the same time, and that is to give back the $600,000.

Ansonia is in a very financially superior situation right now as compared to its previous years. Thanks to property revaluation, and Ansonia’s lack of lowering the mill rate to accommodate it, the city is making more in tax revenues than ever before. If their budget was completely sustainable in prior years, then returning the $600,000 to the schools should be a drop in the bucket compared to how much more in tax revenue they are generating due to higher property values.

We are currently at a crossroads, especially with state funding. The State of Connecticut is fed up, and an investigation into city finances is imminent. The state has already threatened, on numerous occasions, that it will pull funding from the schools, or penalize the city for what they’re doing with school funding. Due to minimum budget requirement (MBR) laws, if we lose those millions upon millions in state funding to our schools, the residents of Ansonia will have to pick that bill up, on top of the penalty fines for violating MBR laws.

In 2013, during a debate with then Mayor James Della Volpe, Mayor Cassetti told us to “rest assured” and that he “has other ways of funding the school system.” It is now 2018, and none of those other ways have come to fruition. It seems that we are taking steps backwards rather than forward.

The bottom line is this: If David Papcin and the rest of Team Cassetti truly care about the taxpayers, then they wouldn’t pass off the concerns of parents, teachers, and students as a political rally. Further, they wouldn’t be playing chicken with the State of Connecticut and its threats to pull school funding for future years. This will result in immensely higher taxes for the residents of this great city, and I don’t want to see that happen.

The writer, a 2015 graduate of Ansonia High School, is currently serving in the US Marine Corps. His opinions and viewpoints are strictly his own and not the viewpoints of the Department of Defense.

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