Letter to the editor from Rob Pastore, a Greenwich parent
How Greenwich Public Schools (GPS) will implement its approved 2020-June 30, 2021 budget (less the $3M GPS requested) is unsettling.
GPS’ 19 schools and 9,113 students experienced large classes and not enough chairs in classrooms before C19.
“Greenwich is among America’s wealthiest towns. Residents are generous with their philanthropic events and support. That generosity should extend into how they vote, and how their Values – beyond their own personal tax bill – are reflected,” posted a parent. “Did they really just vote No?” asked a GPS student while watching the BET May 5 Zoom meeting. “Yes.” “Some people need to re-examine their Values,” commented the child.
Evidently, Greenwich’s top value is their own mil rate.
Evan Osnos’ New Yorker article “How Greenwich Republicans Learned to Love Trump,” May 7, ignited a backlash from some residents (Greenwich Free Press “Greenwich Officials Respond to Controversial New Yorker article“, May 10,) along with supportive ones (“Osnos Nailed It,” on Greenwich Free Press ‘Greenwich’s Immoral Compass, May 13).
Newcomers state the #1 reason they move to Greenwich is “because of its schools” (– Greenwich Board of Realtors).
On May 5, Greenwich, CT’s BET (Board of Estimate and Taxation) voted 7-6 (completely partisan) NO to $3M for Greenwich’s 19 public schools, and 9113 students, 14.9% qualifying for free lunch.
The Town’s total budget is $444M. A few days later, several of the town’s wealthiest residents published a letter in the local paper: “(GPS) will Make the Best” of their 2020-21 budget.”
“Greenwich is among America’s wealthiest towns. Its residents are known for their generosity, their philanthropy… but that generosity and philanthropy (should) also be reflected by how they vote, and which priorities (values) residents hold most dear,” posted a parent. Here is how GPS is trying to “make the best” of BET’s (7 Republican votes) No to $3M, and a flat budget for the July 1-June 30, 2021 school year – a surreal time for students and teachers during C19 prolonged distance learning.
If the nearly 20 wealthiest Greenwich families who signed the “Let them eat cake” letter, as it’s called around town – most of whose children are not GPS kids – and whose homes are valued from $27M down – donated – GPS might keep its enrichment programs, staff, state and national travel, etc.
But that’s not going to happen. Here are some GPS cuts being discussed. Not on the table below are projects BET did support funding, including outside consultants, and a fancy, tall, new stone bridge in a dog park across from a deli, which residents posted was perfect just as it was:
– eliminate some ALP (advanced learning) enrichment programs.
– no state or national travel. period. for anyone. students or teachers.
– staff cuts
– eliminate PE, health and wellness staff
– no new library books
The list goes on…
– Rob Pastore, a Greenwich parent