As published in the Record Journal Sunday January 10, 2010
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Editor: Regarding Wallingford’s school budget (RJ, 1/7/10): My first thought about the proposal was, “no way, they are going to run School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo out of town.”
But after talking to some teachers and principals who had the handout, and reading it for myself, and listening to what was being proposed, I am starting to think differently.
Utilizing the teachers and the non-classroom instructors better will be beneficial to the town and the students. I can see where the savings will come from. I hate to see anyone lose their income and benefits, but we need to make some hard choices that are going to better serve the town as a whole.
There are a lot of redundant positions in the school system, and some that should never have been created. This budget cuts the fat out. Having partner schools will benefit everyone, especially the kids in this town.
They will become more independent people.
They will make friends with a greater number of kids before middle school which will help everyone fit in as they grow older. Yes, there will be issues, like having siblings not all going to the same school— no more big brother looking after his sister. Yes, busing will be a headache, and yes, parking will be another issue at the K thru third grade schools since a lot of people choose not to let their kids take the bus but instead drive them to school.
We might need to look at maybe redistricting the schools to help with some issues.
Overall, this budget will make a stable budget for years to come. It seems that someone has done their homework. Will all the changes happen? Who knows? But from this town person’s view, the reductions make business sense. After all, it is a business.
CRAIG M. CASSELLA, WALLINGFORD
Editor: When the Wallingford Board of Education was searching for the right candidate to replace the superintendent’s position, they felt the need to offer a starting salary of over $165,000.
In recent days, our new Superintendent, Salvatore Menzo, has announced that his budget proposal calls for the layoffs of over 117 education professionals and staff members which represent 15 percent of the current employment. More precisely, almost 56 positions will be teachers, with an additional number being paras. This said, it is the decision of the super to terminate the positions that most greatly affect and guide the development of our children. With all positions being funded by taxpayers’ dollars, why is no one looking at reducing the salaries of all the top level administrators by 20 percent? The super’s salary alone will save $33,000.
The taxpayers elected the BOE to look out for the best interest of the community. What have they done? How are they helping us now? We’re losing teachers to keep high priced taxpayer-paid administrators. We all need to look at the entire structure and remember that our educational system is for the children, not to have highly paid individuals.
BRIAN MONROE, WALLINGFORD