Letters to the editor
Published 4:38 pm, Thursday, September 16, 2010
Shocked and speechless
There have been few times in my life when I have been left speechless, Tuesday night was one of those times, after an arduous meeting which included a PA system that did not function; a board that was so tired; a board chairman near exhaustion that she could not adequately call the question at hand; the use of Robert's Rules of order by people that really need to read Robert's rules of order; followed by the ultimate coup de grace.
The board finally got to a point where they discussed their own final opinions, there were five who said they could not support Option E, moments later when the question was painstakingly called five voted for Option E.
It seems Stacy Zahn forgot that she said only moments earlier that she could not support Option E, then she voted for Option E, only a few moments passed, is it dementia? This was the vote ... what happened?
The gasp that was let out around the packed auditorium was palpable, like a wounded animal, no one expected this result. There were many eloquent speakers from around town, with many fine points, not a jump-on-the-bandwagon type of event, there are so many negatives related to Option E that each person who spoke brought to light some other angle and view point. I was proud, and remain so, of have these people -- most of whom I did not know as fellow townspeople -- compassionate, thoughtful and respectful citizens. Bravo to you all.
The new Board of Education supervisor made a point that disrupting eight schools will have more dramatic impact on education than disrupting four schools, it was a good point, but he in my opinion is no Ann Clark and I feel the town felt that loss tonight right down to our core. The idea that it is too difficult to do a study on fuel consumption based on bus routes, guess what mister, that is what you were hired for, it is called work.
This board as a unit is the epitome of everything that is wrong in society today -- unimaginative, bored and lazy is no way to go through life, as one women who spoke said -- to resounding cheers from the packed house -- if you don't like the work, get off the board.
I could go on and on as the meeting was a painful ordeal, watching the blind lead the dead does not qualify for an evening of satisfaction.
Another highlight of the evening was per the agenda, the board actually voted to spend tax payer money to do a comprehensive demographic study for the elementary schools this same evening. It was the agenda item before voting on a new feeder plan, the irony was and still is just mind boggling. How do you vote on redistricting the entire middle school population in essence before you have even begun the process of understanding the population of the elementary schools?
You can't make this up; if it was not so disturbing on so many levels it would have been comical. This town, any town, deserves better than this poor effort and lackluster demonstration of leadership.
I was sickened by this entire event. What an incredible waste of time for so many of us who had to endure this level of gross incompetence, not to mention that we have to live with the results of this mess.
Another thought comes to mind: if the board is so worried about overcrowding, why did you also vote to allow out of town students to attend our schools? Have you heard of cause and effect?
This board does not consider anything it does from one item to the next. Each agenda item and issue lives in a vacuum.
To paraphrase Sir Churchill: "Never have so few done so much too so many, knowing so little".
This option (below) was on someone's e-mail today. It is based on geography and makes a lot more sense than anything the board put forward.
FWMS: North Stratfield School, Stratfield, Burr, Jennings
RLMS: Riverfield, Mill Hill, Dwight Osborn
TMS: Holland Hill, McKinley, Sherman
Shocked and speechless in Fairfield.
BOE's actions disruptive to families
My first meeting at a BOE event was interesting, to say the least. I went to this meeting to learn and to listen. My perception going into this meeting was that Option E was a fait accompli -- I think I was right all along. Other than seeing what goes on at these meetings, I think the board had wasted much of the public's time last night. Those of us who spoke might have just as easily been talking amongst ourselves in the school parking lot. Of those present who shared comments, the majority of opinion there urged the board to look at the bigger picture rather than to rush a plan through only two weeks after the start of school.
The board has some large issues to tackle about redistricting at all levels, not just the middle school level. While everyone is so concerned about avoiding a Singleton School or Changing Feeder Patterns to High Schools, the board continues to disrupt Fairfield families and kids along the way, which may have a long-term effect of causing much more confusion, anxiety and disarray than a list of "criteria" that changes in weight much as the wind shifts from day to day.
The logistics/geographical problems (why are two middle schools one-third a mile from each other?) that face the BOE are not of its own making, but how to approach these short- and long-term problems are within its purview. I saw last night that there is a board out there -- that has the authority to bounce my children around town at its discretion and will continue to do so in the coming years regardless of what I or my neighbors may think. >
And every day I continue to pass Fairfield Woods Middle School, only one-third a mile away from our house, a perfectly good school, while my son will be bussing two to three miles away -- and 40 minutes commute each day from home.
All faith in leadership is lost
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to the Board of Education and a copy was e-mailed to the Fairfield Citizen.
I am appalled at your vote this evening. I cannot believe your inability to listen to the citizens who made their voices heard at the "public" BOE meeting and their passionate pleas for you to postpone your vote pending a more thorough report and more intelligent plan. You have ignored the people who you work for. The people you supposedly represent.
I am thoroughly shocked, as I watched you present your opinions and "facts" regarding redistricting the school children in Fairfield. All the children.
I am disgusted and disappointed that not one of you -- not even Dr. Title -- even approached a modicum of concern for the safety of the children who will be spending more time on buses. I always thought that the safety of our children was paramount.
Do the chances of injury not increase with every extra minute and every extra mile they spend on a bus? Are our children insured for the entirety of their bus trips? If you are so influenced in your voting by the costs involved in busing does the insurance not play a part of that equation? And wouldn't the distance and time traveled by bus be a part of that figure? Have you even consulted with an actuary to question this issue?
Do you even care?
I applaud Mr. Liu for attempting to address the topic. Unfortunately his opinion was not welcomed and his concern was shut down. Thank you Mr. Liu for your effort.
It was apparent to all of us in the audience that you had already made your decision, somehow after only two meetings and in spite of the public outcry tonight.
Mr. Title, this evening I have lost all faith in your ability to lead our board responsibly and in an unbiased fashion and, more importantly, to help the school children of Fairfield grow and be educated. Shame on you.
As I addressed the BOE to vote against Option E, I said:
"To justify voting in favor of Obama's Health Care Reform Bill, Nancy Pelosi said: "We have to pass this so we can find out what's in it".
And it passed.
"We now have a School Superintendant, Dr. Title, who said in support of Option E's redistricting: `Let's put this to bed for budgeting purposes, you can never have all the information.'"
Dr. Title, I'd expect this comment from Nancy Pelosi, not from our Superintendant of schools.
"All the information" included a short/long term cost benefit analysis, a breakdown of the amount of time kids in each district would spend on cross-town buses, after school extracurricular impact (spending time on buses rather than soccer fields), the impact on kids with special needs, a study of town-wide traffic resolves during drop-off/pick-up hours, and the list goes on ... and on.
And it passed.
I'll let others address the specific incomprehensible idiocies of this plan in their letters. But the thought that my, and our, tax dollars are paying Dr. Title's salary -- north of $200,000 -- makes me want to reach for a "House for Sale" sign.