Stop Teacher Layoffs in the Stratford, CT School District
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TO THE BOARD MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION:
We, the undersigned Parents of children who are attending or have attended public schools in the Stratford Board of Education system, taxpayers and residents have composed this letter to express our dissatisfaction with the current Superintendent, Dr. Janet Robinson, and Chief Operating Officer, Clarence Zachery.
This letter is an expression of our “Vote of No Confidence” in Dr. Robinson and Mr. Zachery and their ability to properly run our school district in the best interests of our children. We understand the severity of this decision and did not arrive at it hastily. Stratford needs to be a district to be proud of, one of where decisions were made on a collaborative basis always with the best interest of our students in mind. Stratford schools should be a district with great vision from our leaders, and a place where teachers are given the respect and support to achieve our goals.
Throughout the past few school years we have had concerns regarding Dr. Robinson’s leadership specifically regarding trust, collaboration, decision-making, transparency, vision, her lack of respect for the parents and teachers. We have also had serious concerns about the budget and financial aspect of our school district and the lack of transparency given to Stratford’s taxpayers, which includes past and present parents of Stratford’s school children.
Each and every student is the responsibility of all members of our learning community, including Dr. Robinson and Mr. Zachery and taxpayers in Stratford have a right to know how and where their money is spent and given that information when requested. We continuously get stifled when requests are made.
With this letter, we are requesting that Dr. Robinson, Mr. Zachery and the Board of the Board of Education agree to a forensic audit and immediately cease any teacher or CIA layoffs as a result of their:
• inability to responsibly and transparently manage finances, to provide the actual financial records and data to support the shortcomings in their budget, and their refusal to agree to a forensic audit;
• unreasonable decision to request two unpaid furlough days of union employees of Stratford School District in addition to asking for a 13% reduction in pay for two weeks, especially since the administrators union was offered two paid personal days for their “yes” vote to the furlough; and
• unreasonable decision to layoff 40+ teachers in the Stratford School District, which will have a huge and lasting impact in class size and educational effectiveness within our already struggling schools and a serious detrimental effect to our children at this point in the school year.
We believe that the leadership that has led to these unfortunate developments is not in the best interests of our public school children and the community as a whole because:
• the community was not given an opportunity to provide input during the decision-making that led to the decision to request a furlough and layoffs of 40+ the public school teachers and CIAs, and we are opposed to an unpaid furlough as well as any layoffs;
• we have not received a full, transparent explanation for the Stratford Board of Education’s lack of funds, and denied an audit to explain for the monetary shortcomings; and
• the decision to eliminate the teachers and support staff does not reflect long recognized best practices that address how to support the educational and emotional well-being of our students and community.
We are opposed to any dramatic increases in class sizes, as well as the stress caused to students needing to be moved to new classrooms away from established friendships. Furthermore the implications of laying off more than 40 teachers in the middle of a school year will surely diminish our town and schools’ stature and negatively impacts our property values.
Through the years of financial constraints in Stratford, and especially during a time of serious economic downturn, the administration has continued to receive raises, annuities, and all the perks associated with their positions – all at the expense of taxpayers. We have continuously been led to believe that budget increases were necessary for our children, and the news of layoffs has only solidified our belief that the money does not go into the schools or classrooms, it stays with the administration.
For these reasons stated, we the undersigned are voting “No Confidence” in Dr. Robinson and Mr. Zachery and hope and believe that you as elected members of the Stratford Board of Education will make the right decision and choose what is in the best interest for the children, by:
• rescinding any layoff notices that have been sent to teachers and CIAs; and
• complying with our request for a forensic audit.
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