Letter: Special education requires town-wide discussion

To the Editor:

I sympathize with parents who feel their children’s educational needs aren’t being met, but I feel compelled to remind everyone that a little more than a year ago, the hot controversy in town was over the rising cost associated with special education. The administration and board of education were told in 2012 that they needed to reign in costs for special education. Now, perhaps, they have gone too far.

If we, as a town, want top-notch schools, including special education, we are going to have to pay for it. Unfortunately, we can no longer expect the State of Connecticut to foot the bill for these programs at the levels in the past. Reimbursement from the state has fallen for several years so we need to decide, are we lowering our standards, or paying more to maintain high ones?

If the parents of school aged children in Darien want investment in the schools, they need to be much more vocal during the town budgeting process. As a member of the RTM, I can attest that parents of school-aged children are not proportionally represented, and it is almost always the same very small group of involved parents speaking up for the education budget.

I encourage us to have a reasoned discussion of how we want to address special education, and a realistic look at what it will cost. Wherever possible let’s avoid an adversarial approach which just costs more of our tax money. And, the coverage of the issue has created far more heat than light. Breathless headlines, anonymous quotations and hearsay won’t help solve this problem.

The board and administration have been put into a difficult position, so we need a town-wide discussion of investment in our schools, and if we decide to invest more, every parent needs to be heard so that our government understands that this is a priority we are willing to pay for.

I believe that if we cool off the rhetoric and come together we can do what’s best for everyone.

Robert Kernen

RTM District III

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

  • Failure

    Even though I live in California, the topic of this letter to the editor transcends geography. It is always the small minority of parents that speak for the majority of parents. If we sincerely want to have a say on how our child is educated whether in special education or not, we need to show up and be heard. http://Www.ourspecialvoice.org

  • ltee

    I applaud this email as it serves to open discussions. But I just don’t think this RTM member gets it, and I would think that after the state coming down on the district for violations you would think the individual would.

    It’s not about the town “deciding” to invest more into special education, because under IDEA, its clear and simply “how” to address this problem: just follow the law.

    No rhetoric needed, no additional committees or representation during budgeting process needed… Just Follow The Law.

  • ltee

    One last thing… a large majority of people in town work on Wall Street. If you break NASD/SEC laws, you get fired and/or pay heavy fines/go to jail (i.e. you are in big trouble). I find it curious that people in the administration continue to hold their jobs and not are held accountable for this mess. In the private sector, people are fired for not following the rules, here in Darien, you get to hold your job if you mess up so badly that it requires state intervention. But as long as you feign ignorance, you get to use additional tax payer money to pay for people to do 2 additional investigations, pay for a high priced consultant to do another’s person’s job, while the person in question still gets to hold their job — for another year. All the while, kids’ IEPs are still screwed up and are falling behind. Priorities people?

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. The Darien Times, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress