CRG agrees with Mr. Parker that our budget graph is “utterly shocking.” On the other hand, how are those numbers — directly from town sources — “inaccurate and narrow-sighted?” The graph merely portrays the published numbers. The numbers are the monetary facts of our education spending, and the spending is shocking.
Our article did not say, and the graph was not intended to tell, the whole back story of the education budget. It was intended to show exactly what it showed. Expenses are up, enrollment is down, and achievement is level at best.
As a retired teacher of 45 years, a parent of two grown children, and a past member for nine years of the Region 9 Board of Education, I am familiar with the issues surrounding the education budget. They are not new. They are perennial and in no way reduce the shock of a 67% increase in per pupil spending.
Regarding the standardized test results, if you were paying for a tutoring service and the price increased even 15% while your child’s test scores were the same or worse, wouldn’t you look for a new tutor? I would, and the reason is two-fold. First, I want a better educational result because I love my children and, second, I want a better price because I have a finite budget. One does not exclude the other. We should take that same care with our education budget.
Our article made no mention of class size. However, since Mr. Parker mentioned it, I will note that across our country and around the world, schools in the past got higher achievement with larger class sizes. It is not a given that smaller class sizes or larger budgets get better educational results. Class size is not the issue, but in any other business or organization with this budget graph, every aspect of the organization would be seriously examined.
Sherry L. Harris
Citizens for Responsible Government
Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) was founded by Easton resident Bud Jennings over 30 years ago and is the oldest PAC in CT. For many years the group acted as a tax watchdog. In more recent years the mission has broadened, and CRG works to protect and sustain the traditional processes of Easton governance, the Town Meeting, by raising awareness regarding important town issues. To see our most recent publication, Important Easton Issues, visit our website at https://www.eastoneye.org/ .