Jagodzinski pleased with special education recommendations

To the Editor:

There's great news for Milford's schools, our students and even our taxpayers. The Board of Education has approved and the district administration has endorsed the “Special Education Opportunities” plan that is designed to significantly improve the level of education not only for special education students but for all of our students while reducing expenses by $9 million.

For years reports have shown that Milford's school are below average and its high schools are substantially below average when compared to similar school districts. This is true even though Milford spends more per student than every other district except one. Thank goodness, there is finally a clear path to improve the situation.

Given the magnitude of the benefits, the board should be doing more to speed the implementation. It has already been a year and there is no clear end date in sight.

There are two things the board should do immediately. First, pass a moratorium on hiring therapists, psychologists and social workers. Second, the board should authorize the superintendent to hire a new senior administrator who would be responsible for overseeing the plan implementation.

The hiring freeze would send a strong signal to everyone involved that the board is serious about implementing the recommendations. It's also the right thing to do. The plan will result in the elimination of about 26 positions in this area. It's unfair to hire people for jobs that are going to be eliminated. Being clear about what is going to happen will give existing employees who are most likely to be affected by the down-sizing a chance to pursue other opportunities.

It's unreasonable for the board to expect a plan of this magnitude to be handled in a timely manner if it has to be done on a part time basis by the current administrators. This requires a senior administrator who can be dedicated to the implementation. This needs a fresh perspective so someone from outside the district should fill the position. It requires someone with strong management, organizational and administrative skills. Ideally it would be someone who has implemented changes like these before.

The board needs to step up to the plate and take immediate action. Our students, our taxpayers and our city deserve it.

Tom Jagodzinski