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Letter's 'Facts' Disputed

Published: January 23, 2004 at 12:00 am

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Letter’s ‘Facts’ Disputed

To the Editor:

George Caracciolo’s recent letters to the editor regarding the staffing of our school contained incorrect facts: the school he refers to (Hawley) does not have 318 students; it has 460 students. It does not have four administrators; it has one, the principal. There is also a lead teacher, who assists with administration, but is not considered “an administrator” by definition. It does not have 15 specialists; it has one reading consultant, one reading recovery teacher, and one math/science specialist, all of whom work directly with children in need of remedial services in these critical areas. (It should be noted that remediation provided by these instructors often results in cost savings because early intervention reduces the likelihood of sustained and/or comprehensive services as students advance through the school system.) In addition to classroom teachers, there are also certified instructors who teach library/media, physical education, art, and music, as is generally typical in elementary education.

Although Mr Caracciolo implies that we have greater staffing levels than other school districts, the facts provided by the State Department of Education illustrate otherwise. Connecticut’s 2002–03 Strategic School Profile (SSP) Report indicates an average student-teacher ratio of 13.7 statewide, 14.0 for districts in our educational reference group, and 15.4 for Newtown. In other words, our student-teacher ratio is higher, and therefore less favorable, in comparison. Additionally, in all grades reported on the SSP, Newtown’s average class sizes exceed the average for our reference group and for the state as a whole.


Our per pupil expenditure, which is driven largely by staffing levels, is notable as well. In 2002, 82 percent of Connecticut’s public schools spent more per pupil than we did. Newtown continues to experience growth and simply put, as enrollment grows, so too do staffing needs.


We strive for high quality education supported by sound fiscal management. We believe that our statistics validate our success. It will be the charge of this board to justify a sound and well-reasoned budget and we intend to do so with due diligence. It is imperative that our community be provided with facts; misinformation undermines this process and does a disservice to our voters.


Sincerely,


Elaine McClure, Lisa Schwartz, David Nanavaty, Tom Gissen


Newtown Board of Education


4 Fairfield Circle South, Newtown                        January 21, 2004


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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
50% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 2