Category Archives: Norfeldt

School budget slicing and dicing

At the hearing last night, the Board of Education heard lots of ideas for paring the proposed budget, according to today’s story in The Hartford Courant.

“Hall junior Alex Porter suggested reducing the school year by four days to trim costs,” reporter Fulvio Cativo wrote in his story. He added that school board members said that’s an idea that’s being explored.

Board members “said they would consider eliminating curriculum specialists, cutting the funds for conferences and meetings and discontinuing Norfeldt School’s magnet program,” the story reported.

Bruce Putterman, one of the school board members, said cutting all-day kindergarten is not on the table unless the referendum leads to a defeat for the budget.

Theresa McGrath, of the West Hartford Taxpayers Association, warned, “This is not the year to play politics or scare tactics,” according to the paper. That’s almost funny.

But I especially liked this: “People don’t move to West Hartford for the tax breaks, they move to West Hartford for the education,” said Kiernan Majerus-Collins, one of two Bristow Middle School sixth-grade students, who asked the board to save the Quest gifted and talented program.

That’s right on the money, kid.
 

 

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Filed under Alex Porter, Board of Education, Bruce Putterman, budget, education, Fulvio Cativo, Hartford Courant, Kiernan Majerus-Collins, News, Norfeldt, Quest, referendum, Schools, Theresa McGrath, West Hartford, West Hartford Taxpayers Assocation

6 elementary schools could get clobbered

Parents at  Aiken, Braeburn, Bugbee, Duffy, Morley, and Norfeldt schools better wake up fast.

On the list of potential cuts are two that would create havoc for countless families and drastically reduce the education at each of the schools.

One proposal is to eliminate full-day kindergarten at each of the six schools, to save $713,750. There would still be half-day kindergarten there, but that’s not nearly as effective educationally and is obviously a greater burden on many working families.

In addition, those same six schools face the possibility of seeing their average class sizes rise by four students in each grade, which means some upper grade teachers could have 29 kids in the room instead of a maximum of 25. In the lower grades, the increase is from 23 to 27.

Anybody who’s read anything about educational achievement knows that smaller class sizes are crucial. At 27, the classes are nearly twice as big as they should be. That would be a body blow to West Hartford’s students — and to our reputation.

Parents — and others, of course — should be screaming that such a thing is even on the agenda.

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Filed under Aiken, Board of Education, Braeburn, budget, Bugbee, Duffy, education, Morley, Norfeldt, referendum, Schools, town council

Taking an ax to education

In the wake of the town council’s awful decision to slice $1.8 million from the proposed school budget, something has to give. Now we know what it might be, and it’s terrible.

The Board of Education has posted a list of potential cuts to reach the new budget goal that it never wanted. You can see the list in PDF form here.

Just scroll through the list and it will make your heart sink. Extending world language education down to kindergarten? Gone. Quest? Gone. Extra help for our most troubled schools? Gone.

They’re even eyeing a return to half-day kindergarten at Aiken, Bugbee, Duffy, Morley and Norfeldt — a policy reversal that flies in the face of every expert’s recommendation. Those same schools might also see class sizes rise by FOUR students apiece. That’s terrible, too, since smaller classes are key for getting results.

Go through the hit list yourself. Everyone will find different things that make them queasy. If this happens, it would be a giant step backward and a slap in the face of our hard-working students, who deserve better.

And what’s really worrisome is that even with all these cuts already looming, the West Hartford Taxpayers Association is pushing for a referendum because it wants MORE cuts. This is so ludicrous that I don’t know where to begin. What kind of town are we creating here? Our leaders need to do better, all of them.

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Filed under Aiken, Board of Education, Bugbee, Duffy, education, Morley, News, Norfeldt, Quest, Schools, town council, Town government, West Hartford