Letter: Democrat refutes GOP assertions about education

To the Editor:

The recent letter by the Republican candidates for Board of Education makes one wonder, are they intentionally misleading voters or are they genuinely that confused? The record shows that Republicans forced the closing of Simon Lake School, a closing that resulted in the subsequent shuffling of other schools. In 2010 the Board of Finance, with the current Republican Town Committee Chair Paul Beckwith leading the charge, slashed the Board of Education budget request by $2.2 million. The Republican controlled Board of Alderman, including their current mayoral candidate Paula Smith, upheld that reduction while the five Democrats, led by then Alderman Ben Blake, attempted to save Simon Lake School and restore the monies the Board of Finance had cut. Finally, it was the Republican controlled Board of Education that voted to close Simon Lake School and pair the elementary schools into K-2/3-5 sister schools, and “the shuffle” began.

Fast forward to 2014, Republican Board of Education members, led by their minority leader, tried to close yet another elementary school. Contrast that with the current board, led by the Democrats, which produced budgets with the smallest increases seen in years. Students are succeeding on many levels as evidenced by Advanced Placement scores, graduation rates and admittance into top tier colleges. The Democrats have led the way by instituting the SRO program and other security enhancements to make our schools more friendly and safe, improved the technology infrastructure and increased the number of tablets and computers available to students, provided students and teachers with the necessary supports they need to be successful, and more, all while keeping the learning and high achievement of all students in the forefront.
Rich Smith, Democratic Town Committee chairman