Most Fairfield residents recognize strong schools are foundational to the health of our community and our property values. That’s why it is so troubling that the Kupchick administration claims to support education while regularly cutting the education budget.
This administration should own its actions, especially the cuts made to budgets already debated/approved by the bipartisan Board of Education:
• 2020: an effective cut of $600k to the approved BOE budget (was higher on paper but included insurance savings). Note: due to Covid, the final budget was $4.25 million less than approved.
• 2021: $2 million cut to the approved BOE budget, with the expectation of $500k in healthcare savings as a partial offset.
• 2022: $2.5 million cut to the (unanimously) approved BOE budget. Entire amount restored by the Board of Finance (which resulted in a televised diatribe by the First Selectwoman).
• 2023: $500k cut from BOE budget. Adjusted down by BOF due to new pension numbers. Final budget number was the slightly less than $500k cut that BOF approved.
Also telling: the school budget represents approximately 60 percent of the town’s total budget. Yet, when $24.8 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were distributed to Fairfield, town hall allocated only $1 million to schools (a token 4% when schools all over town are still without air conditioning or proper air filtration).
The administration’s threats to the education budget are an annual source of worry and anxiety for teachers, parents, and students. This is NOT “supporting education.” As a former BOE member, Brenda surely knows better.
Vote Gerber/Vitale on November 7th.