GROUP LETTER: Educating Greenwich’s Children

Submitted by Natalie Adee, Liz Cavorti-Goldman, Nancy Cooper, Allyson Cowin, Beatrice Igoe, Matt Igoe, Beth MacGillivray, Anna Povinelli, Wynn McDaniel, Antoinette Quigley, Patty Roberts, Frank Salamone, Randall Smith, Berrin Synder, Jane Sprung, Jean Stratton, Cathy Whitaker, Matt Yardis and Sarah Yardis

Does the Town of Greenwich support its public schools?  That was the question in the Spring of 2020.

We the undersigned believe it 100% does!

Last spring, during the Town budget process some people were suggesting the flat budget put forth for our schools was going to leave them underfunded in 20/21.  That the education of the children would be compromised, and property values would fall.

One might ask, if schools get the same amount of money in 20/21 that they had in 19/20 will it be enough?  How did the 19/20 fiscal year turn out?  As it turns out, the Board of Ed had plenty of money to do everything they planned to do and more.  They covered their special education shortfall of about $1.5 million, they were able to pre-pay an additional $2.5 million in expenses for 20/21 fiscal year and had enough extra to give $2 million of unused money back to the Town.

This begs the question, why all the controversy in the spring of 2020?  Were there other special interests at play?  Could it have been purely a political attack on the BET?  Or was it mismanagement by the Board of Ed leaders?  Does the Board of Ed not know their own budget?  How could The BOE Chairman, Peter Bernstein and BOE Budget Committee Chairwoman, Kathleen Stowe, who is also candidate for State Representative 149, not know they were going to have an excess of $6  million?  Why did they allow parents to be scared? Why didn’t they assure parents their children would be taken care of? 

It’s an interesting dichotomy that our town was facing “to have millions in excess” and “to think we were underfunding”.  Some parents believed that the sky was falling.  It was a huge distraction from focusing on how we were going to open schools, educate our children and support the teachers in the fall. 

Shame on us that we are blessed enough to have a nine digit education budget supporting our kids with millions of dollars in excess and we are seemingly unaware of the surpluses. 

The reality is, the Town of Greenwich believes in providing a great education to the next generation and we need to be good stewards of this responsibility.

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor in support of local candidates in the Nov 3, 2020 election may be submitted to [email protected] for consideration beginning July 15 and with a hard deadline of Oct 26, 2020 at noon.