My name is Thomas Tomalonis and I've been a Windsor Locks resident for over 36 years. I went through the Windsor Locks school system from K through 12 and now have an 11-year-old son in the system. I've watched our school system go from very good to poor over the past several years.
There is no doubt something must be done to get our children back up to par with the rest of the public schools. I am writing this letter to ask the Board of Finance to vote down the budget Mr. Sweeney has proposed for the simple fact he hasn't done his "homework" so to speak.
I went to the BOE meeting when he made his big presentation of the budget. Several valid questions were asked but almost none of them were answered. During Mr. Sweeney's presentation he mentioned 3 or 4 items in the budget that were off by thousands of dollars.
He stated that he found these errors in one week's time by doing a little research. Perhaps if he did more research he could find several other ways to save money in our present budget.
I have no problem spending a little extra money to get your child, my child or anyone else's children the help they need to succeed but writing a blank check to Mr. Sweeney so he can begin a huge program without any valid research is ridiculous. Putting them in the extended day, extended year program is only going to hurt the rest of the students by increasing the class sizes and spreading our teachers way to thin.
I am not a teacher but I've coached numerous youth sports and speaking from experience the larger the group the harder it is to spend time working on individual issues a child might have. I think there are several ways to get our children the help they need within the school day without the added expense of having the schools open later and longer.
Mr. Sweeney has stated that our current curriculum has been out of date for several years, and the new one will be instituted in the fall for all schools. If this is the case, there is no doubt some of our children will likely struggle to get caught up with the new curriculum.
Perhaps we will need more teacher aids, interns or possibly even a few extra part time or semi pemanent teachers to help the students that are struggling. There are some outstanding teachers in this town but increasing their class size and instituting a new curriculum at the same time is in my opinion too much to ask.
The new curriculum should be a priority. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Sweeney may need a larger budget to keep the current staff and get our children the help they need to catch up but his current plans for junior high and elementary schools will hurt more than help and he can't even say how much they will actually cost because he hasn't completed the research.
What happens when his plans cost twice as much as he thought? Where will he get the additional money? He has some great ideas for our high school Seniors that will without a doubt aid in their success in the future with very little expense to the taxpayers.
Unfortunately because he waited too long to put this proposal together he is unable to produce a reasonable researched plan for our younger students. Please make him do his job and come up with a well-researched solution for all our students.
Everyone wants whats best for their child. I want what's best for all our children.