As you may have heard, a number of Greenwich residents and public school parents are working tirelessly behind the scenes to try to prevent the cut to the Greenwich public schools budget. Here's a quick update for you, with some specific suggestions on where we can use some help!
Last weekend, hundreds of Greenwich residents wrote emails to the Board of Estimate & Taxation (BET) members and held a protest outside Town Hall to oppose a potential $3 million cut to the Board of Education's (BOE) proposed 2020-2021 budget. Despite this widespread opposition, on Monday, April 27, the BET approved the school cuts. The vote fell along partisan lines, with Republican BET members voting unanimously to move forward despite the strong opposition from the Democrat BET members, Superintendent Toni Jones, the Board of Education...and all of you. Since then, there has been an outpouring of dissent from town residents of all political affiliations, including numerous letters to the editor, continued emails to the BET, and on social media.
Thanks to you, the Republican BET members and other elected officials are now feeling significant public pressure to change course. There is a final vote of the Representative Town Meeting's (RTM) Education Committee on Monday, May 4 and we are hoping the advocacy of residents will encourage the BET to reconvene by Tuesday, May 5. If you would like to help shape this for our town - to find a realistic solution for our schools and our children - we need your help today.
Call to Action
Here are some specific ways that you can help:
1) Visit our website and sign our petition...and then share it with your friends. We have placed a significant amount of content on the website that you can share as you see fit. We will also be posting additional ways to help in real-time this weekend, so please stay tuned.
2) Share this note with your friends and contacts in town.
3) Directly email the following members of the BET, with cc’s to the Board of Education and Board of Selectman (all in one email). A template for this email is below. Here are their email addresses:
BET: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Directly email the following members of the RTM's Education Committee. A template for this email is below. Here are their email addresses:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank you in advance for your help and encourage you to do as much as you can to Support Greenwich Schools in this time of great need!
Sample email to the BET and RTM for your convenience:
Dear Members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation [or RTM},
As a proud Greenwich resident, I urge you to come to the table to find a realistic solution for the Board of Education budget for the 2020-2021 school year. The public schools are the crown jewel of our town and deserve to be protected in this time of great need.
I have been watching the outpouring of support for our schools and our teachers this week, and was disappointed to hear that you have been unable to come together to find a solution for the good of our town and our children. My understanding is that the town has a Rainy Day fund - set aside for use in times of crisis - that can fully fund your proposed $3 million cut to our schools. My family also understands that the average annual cost to each family to restore the cuts is $116.
With national Teacher Appreciation Week upon us, I strongly urge you to fix this situation. Our amazing teachers have excelled in this period of digital learning and neither they nor the town’s 9,000+ public school students should be forced to bear the burden of officials who fail to do the job they were elected to do.
We are watching and hope you will do the right thing for our town.
Board of Estimate & Taxation
Bill Drake (R)
Andy Duus (R)
Laura Erickson (D)
Karen Fassuliotis (R)
Debra Hess (R)
Miriam Kreuzer (D)
Beth Krumeich (D)
Mike Mason, Chair (R)
Leslie Moriarty (D)
Jeff Ramer (D)
Leslie Tarkington (R)
David Weisbrod (D)
Board of Selectmen
Fred Camillo, First Selectman (R)
Lauren Rabin, Selectwoman (R)
Jill Oberlander, Selectperson (D)
Board of Education
Peter Bernstein, Chair (R)
Christina Downey (D)
Karen Hirsh (D)
Joe Kelly (R)
Karen Kowalski (R)
Meghan Olsson (D)
Peter Sherr (R)
Kathleen Stowe (D)