In her recent letter to the editor, Trumbull Board of Education member Loretta Chory said "the current budget, established after many hours of review and deliberation, did not adversely affect any of these important priorities of our school system." We totally disagree with this conclusion, and we present the facts regarding the cuts on Mr. Herbst's watch so Trumbull parents can form their own conclusions.
Superintendent Iassogna recently wrote a memo detailing the impacts of the cuts across the school system.
At the elementary level:
§ each computer paraprofessional was eliminated. This resulted in the closing of the computer labs in each school for regular instruction and no individual training for students on computer usage.
§ elementary interns were eliminated, resulting in a loss of academic support and reading, writing and math intervention.
§ , , , and each lost a half staff person, with only building entrances and emergency situations being handled between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m.
At the secondary level:
and both lost a reading teacher. This resulted in a change to the reading curriculum, as about 150 advanced readers will not receive intensified instruction.
At , 1.6 teaching positions were reduced, despite approximately 50 more students in attendance than last year. The following classes that are not offered this year: Fundamentals of Journalism I, Fundamentals of Journalism II, SAT Prep Fall Grade 11, SAT Prep Spring Grade 10, Fewer sections of multi-section courses in English, String Lessons, and String Ensembles. Fewer sections of classes mean more sections of study halls.
The Curriculum Department abandoned the five-year curriculum review cycle due to lack of funding, and the Board's policy on curriculum review is being re-written to avoid non-compliance. The budget was cut in half for 47 curriculum writing projects scheduled for this year, and curriculum writing continues to fall further and further behind.
Cutbacks in maintenance and custodial budgets despite the increase in square footage at the high school will result in less comprehensive school cleaning, and a lowering of the standards of what is expected in terms of clean, safe and attractive schools.
In addition to these cuts, Trumbull parents are paying more out-of-pocket this year for various programs. The "pay-to-play" fee for sports has increased to $250 per sport. The insurance fee has increased from $25 to $60. The fee to participate in the High School musical has increased from $40 to $100. The fee for Elementary Strings has increased from $260 to $325 per student. School lunch is up by another 10 cents, a increase of thirty cents per lunch over the last two years.
The overall trend during the Herbst administration has been cuts to services, programs, and instruction. Trumbull has built a fine school system of which our community can be proud and which supports local property values. We believe in protecting the quality of that school system, not with a blank check, but by advocating for austere budgets which keep core programs in place.
Board of Education