Schools Need to Compete

If we want a community to thrive, we need to attract families, and if we want to attract families, then our school system, like any business, needs to compete. No Main Street will thrive without the support of families, and we lose too many families to private schools or to other towns.

Some of the reasons I hear that they move to other towns are the number of AP offerings, the music programs, the athletic programs. We don’t have a jazz orchestra at the high school or a play at Eliot like we do at Pierson. We don’t offer girls’ golf or a hockey program. If we really want to compete for families, then we have to offer the programming that lets all kids thrive, and we need to show that Clinton is a town that supports education.

For the last two years, the cost per pupil to educate students in Clinton was the second-lowest on the shoreline after Madison. Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Branford, and Guilford all spend more to educate their students.

Over the last four years, compared to the other shoreline towns, Clinton’s enrollment has decreased the least, only by 2.6 percent versus an average of 8.7 percent. For this same period, Clinton’s education budget has increased only 0.5 percent compared to an average budget increase of 2.5 percent for the surrounding towns.

This proves that surrounding towns are facing higher levels of enrollment decline and are passing higher levels of budget increases. We are not the highest per-pupil district anymore—we are second to last. The CTA’s “Cost Per Pupil” data is more than five years old. I encourage all of your readers to vote “Yes” for the education budget and invest in our children’s future!

Mark Auletta
Clinton

Published April 29, 2015 – http://www.zip06.com/letters/20150429/schools-need-to-compete

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