Prihoda: Greenwich Can Spare $3 Million to Support Education

Submitted by Monica Prihoda, RTM District 6

I vote that the Town of Greenwich can “spare” $3 million or whatever it takes to support the education to which all children are entitled.  The Town of Greenwich is not entitled to hoard monies from education. That’s been going on for too long.

As a second term RTM representative from Old Greenwich District 6 I will vote “yes” in favor of the Sense of the Meeting Resolution (aka SOMR) which will be presented to the 230 full member/12 district monthly RTM meeting Monday night.  For the record, I have no skin in the game:  my kids are grown.

Fundamentally, the purpose of this SOMR is urge the BET to restore roughly $3 million ASAP to the education budget and consider further interim appropriations in the budget year should existing funding not be enough to cover expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have received many letters from residents pleading not to cut the education budget.  I have not received one supporting a cut.

All votes are public information, as is access to the ZOOM meeting Monday night.  The RTM members are elected to represent you, the community of Greenwich, in each of the 12 districts.  Pay attention to how your reps are voting.  Pay attention to how BET members who decide the annual budget are voting. Local elections matter.  You matter too: consider participating in your district RTM. Run next term. You can make a difference in how the Town of Greenwich operates.

Education has already taken a big hit since distance learning took place in March.  No doubt students will have much catching up to do, despite the heroic efforts of teachers and parents trying to take teachers’ places without a teacher’s training and experience. Not to mention Mom and Dad trying to teach their own kids.  How’s that going?

Many letters before this have stated all the reasons it makes no sense to cut the school budget when schools will most probably need more money to ensure teachers, students, staff and all entering the buildings are safe.

Additional costs to consider: hiring more crossing guards to accommodate more traffic safety as more parents may not want their kids on buses; buses at 50% capacity for social/physical distancing means higher transportation costs with more buses needed; purchase of masks and gloves;  more cleaning staff to keep classrooms and buildings safe, etc.

It’s raining and time to dip into the rainy day fund which is meant for times such as this.

Monica Prihoda, Old Greenwich