To the editor:
The following letter was sent to members of the BOE, BOF, Fellow parents, and concerned Darienites:
Darien is a wonderful place to live, my family spent years looking for a place to call home and we chose to settle here. We fell in love with the town's charm, the proximity to the Sound and the City, the feeling of community and most importantly a place where our children would receive the best in education. But sadly …. I no longer feel my children, or any child living in Darien is getting what they rightly deserve.
Our town is affluent. The homes are beautiful and cared for. The number of new cars and boats on the water increases. The town buildings continue to improve … just go and see the new town buildings at , the new heated paddle hut, the new and much needed police station, our state of the art , , the incredible and schools, and hopefully the new senior center that was voted upon in November. We are lucky to have all this for our town. But our children are paying the price when basic needs for their education are vetoed to pay for these other items.
I am the parent of two elementary aged children and a smaller child not yet in school. Both of my elder children have attended . I currently have a 2nd grader and my oldest has moved on to a private school for special education. So I have a few points of view and feel very strongly on the budget issues and proposed topics at hand. Basic needs are not being met for our elementary children and schools. At Royle we need more desks and chairs just for students to sit in during the day. Classes are becoming larger each year and class sizes are at an all-time high. My daughter's class alone holds 25 students. And the lack of money to fund new supplies, text books, and learning materials is unforgivable in a town with all our blessings.
Special Education is a wonderful help to those of us who have had the experience to utilize it, but they too struggle more each year to provide the best education they can to children who have the same rights as "typical" children. As more and more children are tested and found to need services and support, the larger the numbers grow …. therefore I argue their budget must be separate from the regular educational budget. We need more support for these children and families, and be ready for more children in crisis to be added to the numbers of kids in special ed now. Our town needs more professionals who specialize in therapy, crisis work, and support for these families who otherwise would have very few options to educate their wonderful children!
And lastly, I fully support the need for a language program for our elementary children. The growing need for our children to be bilingual is of the upmost importance. Spanish is the fasting growing language spoken in the USA. Our children will not be able to compete for college placements and future jobs if they do not posses the same skills that other candidates have. All the surrounding towns find this to be true and are implementing World Language into their educational plans. The children of Darien are ready!
Education is the BEST place for any parent, taxpayer or town to spend their money. These children are the future … and we are failing ours. I implore you to reconsider the current budget and put our children and our schools first.
Alicia Dove Lyon