It’s time to invest in our future – an open letter from Val Nye with important FACTS about budgets, mill rates and home values

Dear Friends.  It’s budget time.  And that probably means you are tired of seeing emails, signs and mailings.   And I apologize in advance….this story is not short.  But I beg you to please stick with it because it’s an important story to tell.  Because nothing is more important that educating the future.

We are tired of this Town not investing in our kids so that they can save 15 cents a day.  Children are the future.  They deserve the same opportunities as their neighbors.  But years of budget defeats have left our administration hesitant to add any new programs, causing us to fall behind our shoreline neighbors and resulting in our property values being the lowest on the shoreline.

The research I recently did was eye opening.  People are saying that this is the largest budget increase since 2010.  Well look at what our neighbors have been up to since then:

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These are higher percentages on higher budgets which means they spend more for programming.

There is a reason every real estate website discloses a Per Pupil Expenditure (PPE) in communities.  Because investment in education is valuable to home buyers which impacts demand for real estate which impacts property values.  Here is what Clinton’s PPE looks like these days:

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That’s right.  We are not the highest on the shoreline.  In fact, we are one of the lowest.  Thus, here is what our property values look like:

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Please keep reading.

It is clear that investment in education increases home values and better home values are better for everyone – citizens, businesses, parents and seasonal residents alike.    Better home values drive down a mill rate as exemplified by the fact that the mill rate in Greenwich is 11.3 and the mill rate in Hartford is 74.3.  Here is where we stand on Mill Rates:

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Some like to say our spending drives up mill rates.  Well the fact is that depressed home values force an increase in mill rates just to maintain basic services.

I know this is getting long.  Please keep reading.

Building a new high school was only the first step towards righting this ship.  But now it’s time to invest in the inside.  Here is just a sample of what some of our neighbors offer that we don’t:  Full time HS band director, Full time Athletic Director, Middle School Theater Program, Animal Science, Equine Science, AP Music Theory, Beginning and Intermediate Guitar, Wildlife Management, Film Club, Fishing Club and High School Jazz and Pep bands.

Now is the time.

This is the year we show the BOE that we, as parents, want these things for our kids. This is the year that we prove we will not be bullied by CTA propaganda, fueled by one person who admits that his tactics are detrimental to school kids as he will not act that way when he moves to the school district that he grandchildren attend. They will tell us spending increases mill rates.  They will tell us to vote no on a tax hike.  But, we’ve learned that investment in education decreases mill rates.  And we’ve learned that “vote no” signs will be there no matter how large or how small the increase.  Passing these budgets the first time out opens opportunities for our kids.  “No” votes on budgets close doors for our kids.

This is the year that we vote with the context in place that our kids deserve.  This is the year the BOE learns it can add programs.   After years of putting forth bare minimum budgets the BOE finally has the courage to put forth a budget that gives Clinton kids not only the resources they need but resources that will help them succeed above and beyond their known capabilities.  Resources such as team leaders, guidance counselors and coaches who guide the kids and emulate the best teaching techniques.

But once again, because we live in a small community that we love, it is not enough to just go to the polls yourself.  You need to talk about it all day – at the sports fields, at work, on Facebook.  You need to bring everyone you know with you to the polls.  Pull them off the sidewalks.

Now is the time that we stop falling behind, stop underfunding Clinton education and give our kids the resources to not just succeed, but to soar!!.  And research has proven that it will pay off in many ways – in our kids, our home values and our mill rates.

Thanks for reading to the end.  Please forward, post, tweet, whatever…. and please vote yes on Wednesday.

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