To the Editor:
Andrew Howe, the Republican candidate for City Council in my district, released a disappointing and very misleading letter to the editor of the Bristol Press that I thought should be addressed immediately.
Let’s begin. Howe’s statement says that “as one of the 30 Alliance districts, Bristol’s Next Generation Accountability Index is fourth from the top. This year Bristol was recognized by the commissioner of education as well as the Connecticut Legislature’s Education Committee as one of the three top performing Alliance Districts in the state.”
This sounds great, doesn’t it? What Howe doesn’t tell the public is that the Alliance District program is a unique and targeted investment in Connecticut’s 30 lowest performing districts. While our teachers, paraprofessional’s and administrators fight every day to pull themselves and Bristol’s children off of this list, Howe wants us to celebrate the fact that we are the best of the worst from an achievement perspective. If we are fourth from the top of this group, that puts us 26th from the bottom in the state, 90th of 116. Is this a good thing? Fully fund our schools.
Howe’s statement says, “under the direction of a Republican Board of Finance and City Council, turf fields are being used by our students and the community.” Intentionally omitted is that taxpayers paid to build these fields and will also have to pay to use these fields. Turf fields became an issue in Bristol due to the need for additional resources for the ever growing non-school-related sports community. Our tax dollars built the beautiful fields at both high schools, but if your child wants to play on them, you should hit the ATM, as there will be a rental fee. This was simply activity, not an accomplishment.
Howe’s statement says, “In the first year that Republicans controlled the mayor’s office and Board of Education, Bristol added full-day kindergarten.” This is true. The move to add full-day kindergarten was part of a budget that covered rising expenses, bumped the mill rate and increased our taxes. Now, four years later Republicans in local government are touting 2014 accomplishments that were born out of the same investment strategy that they refuse to make in 2017. What’s the difference? 2014 was not an election year; 2017 is. Bristol isn’t a concern, winning is. Fully fund our schools.
Not too long ago, a prominent Bristol Republican said to me, “I have no problem misleading; it’s politics.” As a taxpayer, that discouraged me; as an individual, it motivated me. This time it will not be politics. This time it will be facts. Like it or not, they matter.