SOS Campaign Conducts Informational Meeting
Following the SOS (Support Our Schools) meeting on Monday, September 28, at Reed Intermediate School, campaign Co-Founder Kristen Bonacci said the event was an informational meeting and forum for the community to hear about upcoming events and ways to get involved.
“It was also to help people know that SOS is no longer just about Hawley,” said Ms Bonacci. “It is about the entire town and being involved in the upcoming budget.”
The SOS campaign began near the start of June, when Hawley Elementary School’s PTA and school community members joined together to start a campaign to “Save Our Schools” in response to a Facility and Enrollment Study Committee report that recommended closing Hawley Elementary School or Newtown Middle School due to declining enrollment, with a focus on Hawley.
By the end of the month, with the Board of Education’s decision to not close a school for the 2016-17 school year and to continue reevaluating its facility use, the SOS campaign switched gears and changed its name to “Support Our Schools.”
“The SOS team is excited to continue forward in an effort to engage the entire community with the best interests of Newtown education,” said SOS Co-Founder Aaron Carlson. “The campaign is a pro-education platform with goals to increase awareness on important school topics and milestones.”
Monday’s evening meeting, Ms Bonacci said, had roughly 25 people attend. At the meeting, Ms Bonacci said information was shared about the PTA and PTSA’s upcoming Board of Education candidate informational forum, set for Wednesday, October 14, at Newtown High School’s Lecture Hall, from 7 to 8 pm.
Meeting topics also included the school board’s Capital Improvement Plan, the timeline for the school budget, and ways residents can get involved, primarily with the Board of Education, according to Ms Bonacci.
While Ms Bonacci said the school board has decided not to close a school for the 2016-17 school year, she said the topic could be discussed again in the future, and because of that, the importance of being involved was discussed at the meeting on Monday.
Ms Bonacci said more ways of getting the community involved in the SOS campaign are underway. More meetings are being planned, and other ideas are in the works, like holding a “social night” outside of a school environment. Ideas about how to get more people involved in voting are also being discussed.
By Wednesday, September 30, an October 22 meeting had been planned with the date to be determined.
According to Mr Carlson, the SOS campaign is discussing ways to “increase parent voter turnout for the elections and budget referendum.”
“This isn’t about Hawley. This isn’t about the middle school. This is about our community and keeping everybody informed,” said Ms Bonacci.