Reinstate Funds to ESS Program in BOE Budget

Reinstate Funds to ESS Program in BOE Budget

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Megan Byrd started this petition to New Milford Residents

The ESS program is an in house program servicing New Milford's at risk students. Many of these students previously were placed out of district in specialized programs equipped for handling the extreme mental health crises they face including things such as debilitating anxiety, depression and self-harm/suicidal ideologies. In order to get the biggest "bang for the buck" (according to BOE Chair Angela Chastain) they have eliminated 18 out of 27 spots to service these students in critical need. By eliminating the funding to 2/3 of the program, approximately 15 students currently enrolled will be left without adequate supports to help them successfully complete their education in district and we, as a community, will likely be hit with greater than expected outplacement costs. We, the undersigned, believe these funds should be returned to the overall budget by the Town Council prior to referendum, and then once the final budget is decided by tax payers, the BOE should reinstate this program. Please consider the needs of these students, and understand that $290,000 is not worth a single life lost to suicide or drug addiction, two very real potential outcomes should we turn our backs on these students.

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