With the third round school budget referendum set for Tuesday, June 4, Acting Superintendent of Schools John Reed and others ventured to ballfields around Newtown last Saturday and Sunday to speak with residents.
The single polling location for Tuesday's referendum is at Newtown Middle School from 6 am until 8 pm.
Residents Michelle Ku and Michelle Hankin along with Board of Education Vice Chair Laura Roche accompanied Dr Reed for part of the visits.
Ms Roche said many of the people she spoke with on Sunday had few questions, and most of the people were simply happy to see Dr Reed out speaking with residents about the upcoming budget referendum and Newtown’s educational system in general.
“Everybody was thanking him for coming on board,” said Ms Roche, who also noted people thanked Dr Reed for taking the time to visit the ballfields.
According to Ms Roche, Dr Reed visited ballfields across town.
“It’s imperative that people realize that we really have a lot of work to do in the schools,” said Ms Roche, who added the district is lucky to have Dr Reed.
“Dr Reed is about uniting people, bringing people together, and working on moving forward,” Ms Roche said.
On Monday, Dr Reed said he had visited the ballfields because he felt a sense of urgency to express to people that the budget be adopted.
“I felt it was an opportunity on Saturday and Sunday for me to address that directly to some of our parents in the school system, and I also had the opportunity to speak with some others that were not parents but grandparents or had children in other schools,” said Dr Reed.
He said visiting people at the fields was an opportunity to share his feeling that the education budget passing is important both to the school system and to the town.
“Because I think to attract people to Newtown, and for people to be able to sell their homes, it’s vital that Newtown be viewed as a town that supports, through the budget process, its schools,” Dr Reed said.
The Newtown PTAs and PTSA also released a statement on Monday, June 3, regarding Tuesday’s referendum.
“In response to two failed education budget referenda, all Newtown PTAs and [the] PTSA held special meetings at their respective schools in order hold a membership vote to support a motion to advocate a ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming budget referendum. Members voted in favor of advocating a ‘yes’ vote and we encourage parents come out to the polls on Tuesday to ensure a successful third referendum,” the release reads.
According to the release, the PTAs and the PTSA also worked tirelessly prior to the first two referdums to get voters out to the polls through organzing a phone bank, calling voters to remind people of the vote, purchasing “I voted” stickers to be handed out at the polls, created a “Did you vote today?” flyer campaign, and posted signs around town to remind people to vote.
“We posted our VOTE reminder signs throughout the town and created a new Facebook page for district wide PTA/PTSA news, Newtown School News, https://www.facebook.com/#!/NewtownPTAs,” the release reads. “Many PTAs have also emailed budget updates to parents throughout the budget season”
The release continues: “With the support of [Dr Reed] and the Board of Education, and in agreement with the Board of Finance and our Legislative Council, we ask parents and all Newtowners to vote yes. Support our kids, our teachers, our school staff and our town. Show our new school administrators (at Sandy Hook School, Reed Intermediate School and Newtown Middle School) that we value our schools. Let this be Newtown’s final budget referendum. Enable our town to move forward.”
The PTAs and PTSA release is signed by Newtown Middle School PTA President Jen Scarangella, Newtown High School PTA President Maggie Conway, Sandy Hook School and Reed Intermediate School PTA President Tracey Jaeger, Reed PTA Co-President Lisa Wallace, Hawley PTA President Marabeth Pereira, Head O’ Meadow PTA Co-President Cynthia Iaropoli, Head O’ Meadow PTA Co-President Laura Terry, and Middle Gate PTA President Kelley Mozelak.