Letter to PTA Members and Friends – May 5

Dear PTA Friends,

Please bear with me and read through the next few paragraphs, and then you will have some marching orders at the end of this message.

We all experienced a little bit of summer last week, and while tulips and daffodils are what we like to see popping up out of the ground, here is a different kind of yellow flower:

As friends of the PTA, you are the community builders who are informing Clinton that these yellow NO signs are a sea of poisonous flowers.

The yellow sign people pretend that Clinton is a financial disaster. They tell us that the only way to a vibrant community is to slash the funding for the very thing that makes it vibrant: its services and its schools. They try to paint us as extreme, telling us that we compare negatively to other towns. In fact, the opposite is true:

  • Clinton has the lowest spending per pupil on the shoreline
  • Clinton has had the lowest budget increases on average over the last 7 years

Yes, Clinton needs economic development, and I urge everyone to roll up their sleeves and get involved in that. However, while economic development is the eventual key to Clinton’s long term success, it is absurd to destroy Clinton’s services and school system in the meantime, cutting the legs out from under the very town we are trying to sell.

Over the next few days, I call on you all to participate in the fight to preserve our community and our schools.Is the battle ugly at times? Sure it is. We and our teachers have been called many ugly names by the yellow sign people; self serving, perverted, heartless, indulgent and permissive, to name a few. I invite you to ask the teacher who is losing her job at the end of the year, who just returned from Nature’s Classroom where she stayed up at night with homesick kids …..if she feels selfish and permissive.

In the past three budgets seasons, Clinton has reduced staff by 14 teachers, and 10 paraprofessionals and other personnel. This year’s proposed budget already includes the elimination of an additional 6 teaching positions.

Friends, I’m sure many of you support the budget, so in a sense, I am preaching to the choir. But this is not a plea to urge you to vote yes. This is a plea for you to get other people who may not be paying attention to get to town hall on or before May 9 to support this budget. We need 1,800 YES votes, so it’s important to reach out beyond your comfort zone. Go up to your neighbor who may be doing yard work outside, or even knock on their door and just ask, “Do you vote in Clinton’s budget referendum?” and then talk to them. Talk to people on the bleachers at the baseball fields. clintonpta.org has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which contains a lot of pertinent talking points.

Wondering what else you can do? Please join our rallies on Wednesday. We will have a presence at Eliot, Pierson and Joel in the morning during drop off, and then at Town Hall and the old Morgan school at 5 and 5:30 respectively.Stop by, say hello, and join in the fun!

May 8th and 9th texting blitz is crucial. You are the trunk of the tree. The task now is to get the tree branches to grow, and for those branches to sprout new branches. Text your friends and neighbors to remind them to vote, and then ask them to text other friends, and for those friends to text others, and so on and so on and so on. Let’s get this done.

Valerie Nye
Clinton PTA President

 

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