This email & an addendum came in to me today. They seem worth sharing:
I doubt there is anyone left who is unaware of this, but we are going
to referendum on Tuesday to support or send back the town budget.
Whatever your opinion, you should make it to the polls, so that we
really know what the majority of WH wants. If you listen to the West
Hartford Tax Payer’s Association, then we are all unhappy with the
budget and are demanding more cuts. They got the signatures to force
the referendum. However, after speaking to some people who DID sign
the petitions, they were not necessarily fully aware of the situation.
I also don’t know how many of them realized that the highest officers
of the WHTA are home-schooling and/or sending their kids to private
schools. It would seem to me that the stakes are not as high for them
in terms of cut-backs in education.
I am not afraid to stand up and tell you I am voting YES to support the
budget. Like many of you, I am unhappy with the current state of the
cuts made by the BOE, but a NO vote will NOT get those back – it will
only force more cuts. If you live in WH for the quality of the West
Hartford Public Schools and the other municipal services that we are
offered, then you should join me in voting YES.
I am, like many, confused by the article in Friday’s Courant about the
“lies” and both sides are now calling the others liars. I can
understand that we need to fight more for our share of ECS funds.
Perhaps there could be some changes made that don’t effect the
programs. But stuck in the middle of it all is our children, and if we
don’t support the budget now, that is where the cuts will be made – to
our classrooms and to our kids. If you want to see a restructuring
that will change things in the coming years, then I urge you to get
involved earlier in the process next year. The schools start preparing
the budget in the fall and by March the administration is presenting it
to the BOE.
When we got the letter from Jim Francis explaining the coming
year’s taxes, we realized it will not be nearly as bad as we expected.
Yes it’s going up, but not dramatically. I believe them when they say
that as revaluation is phased in, the mill rate will go down. Maybe it
will never reach the 29 mill rate the mayor has indicated, but I’d like
to believe it will indeed go down, and will balance off the increases
proportionately. If we continue to make cuts to our services, we may
have lower taxes but what will happen to our property values?
Yes – I am a WHPS teacher, but I’m also a graduate, as was my dad, and
we intend our children to be, as well. I can tell you from the inside
that many decisions are on hold until this budget is solidified. New
teachers (like my daughter’s teacher who was a long-term sub this year
and has been offered a position for next year) are not able to sign
contracts until they find out if there are going to be shifts due to
classroom sizes being increased, or Quest being cut, or Kindergarten
going to 1/2 day. In all cases, tenured teachers will bump out the
newer ones. That means grade level changes, school changes, and new
curriculums to be learned – which is not necessarily awful but it does
effect our kids on a daily basis. As any teacher can tell you, the
first year in a new position is a learning year.
If you are interested, there is a West Hartford blog in which you can
see, and participate, in discussions about our town. It’s being
managed by a WH dad and some of our town officials are even adding to
the discourse. Unfortunately, some people have resorted to
name-calling and are a bit overly dramatic, but if you skim through
some of those and find the good stuff, you can learn a lot about what
is going on: https://whdad.wordpress.com/
As stated by Kiernan Majerus-Collins, a 6th grade Quest student, at the
May 29th public hearing, “People don’t move to West Hartford for the
tax breaks, they move to West Hartford for the education.” (Watch for
Kiernan in future political races 15-20 years from now!)
Feel free to pass this message along, (or shorten it if you wish… but
please don’t misquote me.) I am hopeful that there won’t be any
ramifications to me – as I’ve seen some not-so-nice stuff on that
blog… I’m just another concerned tax-payer and mom who wants to urge
you to vote on Tuesday, and hope that you vote YES.
I do apologize for bothering you again, but I have to set one thing
straight. I was just looking at the ad taken out by the WHTA on the
front of the Trade Winds today. I don’t know about the rest of the
numbers, but I can tell you with certainty that WH teachers do not have
$3.00 co-payments on healthcare. I’ve been here for 5 years and
they’ve never been that low. The below excerpt is on the WH Blog, from
a memo written by Jim Francis to the Town Council, and has been there
since June 9th – so I suppose they would have already submitted their
ad. The memo was submitted to the blog by Chuck Coursey. The memo
itself is dated June 5th.
• The Taxpayers say the average co-payments are $3.00. I do not know
where this comes from but the co-pays for teachers, administrators,
professionals, and nurses are: office visit -$20; emergency room – $75;
Inpatient hospital – $75; Prescription drug – $5 for generic, $20 for
brand formulary, and $35 for brand non-formulary.
I’m not calling anyone a liar – but they should really get their facts
straight before they take out ads on the front of a paper. I wouldn’t
let my students put that kind of misinformation in a school research
project, and they’d have to cite their sources, to boot.