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Fairfield Schools Lose More Funding

Greg Convertito is sick of attending a school that is already cutting corners on things such as maintenance and supplies. That’s why the Fairfield Ludlowe High School senior, his father, John, sister, Christina, and friend Evan Stump arrived at Monday night’s Representative Town Meeting toting signs with slogans such as “Don’t Cut Our Budget.”

“We already have a paper shortage halfway through the year, and now they want to cut even more,” Greg said before the meeting. “There’s still windows broken from when they renovated a few years ago.”

The group, along with dozens of parents and teachers, tried to sway town legislators to shoot down an $800,000 cut in school on top of $2 million already slashed by the Board of Selectmen. The parent protests were not enough, however. The RTM voted to make the reduction by a margin of 22-20.

Though the cut was not as deep as the $1.2 million pitched by Carolyn Richmond at last week’s session, it still represented another 0.5 percent of the total the Board of Education asked for. Some in the audience asked the RTM to make the cuts to keep tax levels as low as possible. Alrick Man, a Jennings Road resident, asked to preserve the cut, given the current state of the economy.

“We’re not looking to destroy an education budget,” Man said. “We’re just looking for some cooperation from those trying to put it all together so that we’ll know we’ll get through these hard economic times and move on to more prosperous times. And that’s when we can expand an already healthy education for our children.”

The Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. David Title will decide how to deal with the reductions at their next meeting later this month. RTM members in favor of the cut said they hoped the difference would be made up in salaries for staff members outside of the classroom, such as school psychologists or curriculum leaders, who work in the central office to coordinate subjects across the district.

But Title and Board members said Monday they feel that those positions are essential. Instead, the district will most likely lay off teachers . “You are voting to reduce the educational services in this town, it’s as simple as that,” Title told the board Monday. “There is no magic wand to wave over this.”

What do you think about the cuts to the school system’s funding? Where do you think the district can afford to cut back? Start the conversation in the comments below.

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