To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Michele B Bialek, a parent representative member of the Shelton Full Day Kindergarten Ad-Hoc committee. I represent Sunnyside Elementary school. I currently have three children attending Sunnyside, one who is at Perry Hill school and two more of my children are slated to attend Sunnyside in the next coming years.
For the past several months, the employees of Shelton’s BOE central office have been organizing and compiling supportive data towards the end of implementing a full day kindergarten program. Data findings indicate that given the current and future curriculum of our elementary schools, we are at this point long overdue for a full day program. Quantitative expectations of children entering first grade are far surpassing anything that our schools are capable of providing with the current three hour schedule. We are one of the last holdouts in the entire state and the longer we wait, the more costly it will become. Compelling data has also shown that a full day schedule reduces the cost of remediation in grades as high as third and beyond, further reinforcing the prudence of such an evolution of education.
A budget has been created and approved by the BOE and they are ready to present it to the Mayor as well as the Board of Aldermen with whom the existence of this program hinges. There have been many attempts to reach out to these parties and these attempts have been met mostly with the air of annoyance. Certain members of the Board of Aldermen as well as the Mayor seem to feel as if this issue is a thorn in their side and when addressed, make comments expressing their distaste for certain members of the BOE and the practices they employ. Whereas I may not personally disagree with their perspective and concerns, my question lies in this- “What does any of this have to do with the future of our children and the solidity of our municipal educational system?” We are now doing the children of this city a disservice by choosing to NOT comprehensively prepare them for the rigorous curriculum imposed by state mandates and assessed expectations.
Mayor Lauretti has spoken on record stating that the issue of school safety is a much more pressing issue and any extra funds will most likely be allocated to this project. It is my understanding that most if not all of the funding needed for the essential security upgrades will be covered by federal grants, BOE monies already in the current budget as well as reimbursement grants directly given to the City of Shelton. I find it unfortunate that our Mayor would make such a statement. I simply had to research 10 minutes online to find this information and I for one find it greatly disheartening that he either is mis-informed himself or is intentionally giving out mis-information. Furthermore, I seem to recall a publication recently of the extraordinary budget surplus that we currently enjoy, potentially making this program comfortably affordable.
http://cityofshelton.org/index.php/component/content/article/203/96-public-improvement-building-committee Please see the 11-18-13 minutes.
I ask in earnest that the elected members of our city government take the time and consideration to fully investigate - inquire the surrounding municipalities with successfully implemented FDK programs in order to educate themselves on this issue and make their decision based on issue-related information and not on personal agendas and grudges against party affiliations.
The time to act is now and to that end, the BOE will be offering two informational PowerPoint presentations offering supportive data, research, and comparative studies supporting the necessity for a Full Day Kindergarten program in the City of Shelton. These will be held on Wed Feb 12th and Thurs Feb 13th at Shelton Intermediate School @ 6:30pm. All BOA memebers are encouraged to attend as well as any Shelton residents concerned with the future education of our children, which hopefully is all of us.
Michele B Bialek