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Monster Mash Costume Party Dinner Dance

Annual Costume Party Dinner and Dance to Support
the Winchester Youth Service Bureau Taking Place Oct. 28
WINSTED, Conn. — October 10, 2016 — It will be some hairy, scary, grown-up fun when attendees arrive for the Winchester Youth Service Bureau’s (WYSB) annual costume party and dinner to be held at the Chatterley’s Banquet Facility in Torrington on Friday, Oct. 28th from 7-11 p.m.
Maria Coutant Skinner, chairman of the Planning Committee, promises an evening of great food, fun music, a costume contest and a great silent auction. So gather up your friends and come to this year’s “Monster Mash” themed celebration, which supports the Youth Service Bureau. The focus of WYSB is to serve the area’s most at-risk and in-need youth through the use of a variety of programs and services that help each develop positive assets to overcome the challenges they face.
“The WYSB staff acts as relentless hope merchants, providing a safe haven and restorative environment for youth and their families,” said Jennifer Favorite, WYSB director, MS MFT. “Our purpose is to continue the legacy of the WYSB Executive Director Mary Coutant (served from 1983-2012) who stated, ‘The WYSB restores hope day after day, year after year, for our young people and their families.”
The WYSB works with each child and their family to identify how it can best serve them in order to address their issues, concerns and stressors.
The money raised from “Monster Mash” goes directly to supporting the Bureau’s cause. While guests are not required to attend the event in costume, the vast majority do, determined to outdo each other with creative outfits that tie in to the theme. With a subject as broad as any kind of squeamish, spooky, surprising beast, there is sure to be quite an array of monsterrific creations.
Of course, costumes are just the beginning. Partygoers will spend the evening enjoying dining, dancing the night away, and bidding on items in a great silent auction. Tickets to “Monster Mash” are $35.
Favorite and WYSB Program and Rising Star Camp Director Jenna Hyler (MACP)will be on hand to answer any questions concerning the variety of services and programs that the Bureau offers to families, which include: individual/ family counseling and group programming, an alternative juvenile justice program (JRB-Juvenile Review Board), the therapeutic (Rising Star) camp, the Christmas Angels program -providing holiday gifts to children who might not otherwise receive them, and more.
WYSB is a branch of the Northwest CT YMCA. WYSB and the YMCA is committed to building strong communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and believes that together we can ensure we have the resources to help every child in need.
To learn more about the event or purchase tickets, visit www.wysbevents.org , stop in to the Torrington, Canaan or Winsted branch or call Hyler at 860-379-0708, x106 or email her at jhyler@nwcty.org.

Update to Elementary School Population Issue

I am told that my timeline in the classroom size issue between Bakerville and New Hartford Elementary that I posted was not correct.

My daughter told me (and she is usually right) that the letters for the swing line went out first.  The letters were an attempt to even out the class sizes.  The parents affected by the swing line refused to cooperate, and obtained doctors’ notes.

There were supposed to be two classes at NHES and two at Bakerville from the beginning, as the Board of Ed was told there was absolutely no room at Bakerville for three first grade classes.

After the refusal, the Superintendent attempted to even the sizes out by placing the other first grade class at Bakerville, and that’s when the Bakerville folks got letters about three first grade classes.

Obviously parents at NHES were concerned that their children’s first grade classes would be much larger than the Bakerville classes, and having one first grade classroom in a town of this size in a school that size is not optimum for teachers or students.

So we’re at a place and this is it.  New Hartford Elementary has empty classrooms.  Having only one class at each grade level is not optimum.  Bakerville is pretty much at capacity.  They don’t have room for another classroom.

If any Bakerville parents use Giant Steps Daycare, maybe they would be willing to move their children voluntarily.  You can’t ask for volunteers any other way, unless those parents are willing to transport their children to and from school.  If they’re at Giant Steps, that solves a problem.

Other than that, the swing line needs to be honored.  If these 7 families won’t cooperate, perhaps they wouldn’t mind providing transportation to and from Bakerville School each day so that the bus company could adjust the swing line a little farther.

Just throwing that out for consideration.  And stop banging on the Board of Education.  They had nothing to do with this.

 

 

 

More New Hartford Elementary Schools Controversy

The swing line in population between Bakerville and New Hartford schools has been used since we moved here, back in the 70’s.   This is an annual adjustment to equalize the sizes of classrooms.  It hasn’t been used for a few years lately because of Superintendent changes, etc.  The swing line is determined by Datco, based on the most efficient transportation routes.  It can’t be put out for volunteers, because of transportation routes.

There are enough first graders in town to have four classes, and a teacher was added for that purpose.   Letters went out on 7/29 from principals, claiming that three of the first grade classes would be at Bakerville (after the BOE was told that there was no room for the extra class at BAK), each with 15 students (that’s per the Save Bakerville School page post), and one first grade class at New Hartford Elementary School with 20 students.  That setup screams for a swing line adjustment to even class sizes.

So they attempted a swing line adjustment.   I’m just doing the math here, and I could be wrong, but that would put 27 kids in 1st grade at NHES in 2 classes, and 38 in Bakerville School in 2 classes.  Maybe there are a couple more kids in that swing, but I’m just going by the numbers presented.  They should swing enough so there are about 16 in each class, 2 at NHES and 2 at Bakerville.

When the letters were mailed by the Superintendent to seven families on the swing line saying that they would move to NHES, six of the Bakerville School families refused.   That refusal leaves us with the unequal distribution we started with.

I’m sure that many parents in NHES, and others in town, who voted for the Bakerville School to remain open had no idea that there would be a total lack of cooperation in equalizing classes.   They’ve just made their own best argument for consolidation.  If we can’t operate under the parameters we have and allocate our resources evenly to both schools’ students, how is that fair?  How is that looking out for the best interest of the children?

There is a Board of Education Meeting August 19.   The Board of Education members are doing the best they can and are being stymied and maligned at every turn.  The Save Bakerville School folks are still fighting consolidation at board meetings, as the study for population growth in town is ongoing.

It’s time for NHES parents to say “enough.”  We should fight for the kids.  Support your Board of Education.

 

Alternative Cuts Proposed if Bakerville Stays Open

It was brought to my attention that alternative cuts had been proposed as a way to save money while keeping Bakerville School open.  Those cuts were discussed at the March 1, 2016 meeting.  During that meeting, the Board of Education voted to return to the February 2, 2016 budget with Bakerville closing.   Maybe the information below will help you understand why.

The cuts have not been given any air-time in any of the information passed around by the folks in the Coalition to Save Bakerville School political action committee.

I’m going to relate those cuts from the draft of the minutes from the March 1 meeting in order to refute the above political action committee’s contention that education will worsen if Bakerville closes.

The following is taken directly from the draft of the minutes, and they are cuts that are suggested to save money IF Bakerville remains open:

  1.  Unemployment Costs at $30,000.
  2.   Moving Costs at $13,000.
  3.   Summer Custodians at $5,000.
  4.   Wiring at $3,000.
  5.   Professional Development at $20,000.
  6.   Behavior Specialist at $20,000.
  7.   Reading Materials at $10,000.
  8.   STEM/TAG Programs at $11,000.
  9.   Superintendent’s Salary Increase at $3,700.
  10.   Spanish Teacher Salary and Benefits at $61,515.
  11.   Music Teacher (2 Sections) at $17,000.
  12.   Interventionist at $10,000.
  13.   Maintenance at $5,800.

The items 5 through 13 with the exception of the raise for the Superintendent, point to a decrease in the value of New Hartford’s education if Bakerville School remains open.  So I can definitely say that the Coalition to Save Bakerville School’s comment that your child’s education will be affected is true, but not in the way they want you to think.   All of it points to a reduction of educational quality in New Hartford if Bakerville remains open.

I’m not willing to give up the opportunity for my grandchildren to learn Spanish in 5th and 6th grade.  Mr. Murphy confirmed at the meeting that the cut meant elimination of the Foreign Language Program.   Those cuts sound pretty scary to me.

I urge you to join me in voting “YES,” to close the school and consolidate with New Hartford Elementary.  The benefits are clear.

Misinformation on the Closing of Bakerville

I would like to address the “facts” presented in bullet points in the mailer sent by the Coalition to Save Bakerville School.    While they call them “facts” most are at best conjecture.

First:  “Your property value will be affected.”  It could be better, it could be worse, but we are led to guess it will be worse.  There is no basis for that statement.

Second:  “Your child’s education will be affected.”  Other than the location where they get it, that statement is another insinuation that it will be worse, when in fact it could be much better.

Third:  “Bus routes and travel times will increase.”  That’s possible but since they just renewed the contract last week I don’t think we’ve seen any estimates, not even at the meetings last week.  They increase or decrease from year to year in the same locations now.   Our grandkids always lived within a 10 minute drive of their respective schools and their rides are close to an hour some years.  It’s what happens with bus routes.

There may be another bonus for working parents.  I don’t believe a bus runs from Bakerville to Giant Steps, which was always a problem for Bakerville parents who worked.

Fourth:  “Class sizes will increase.”  That is mostly false.  Average per class is estimated at the same level next year with Bakerville closed.   In one case, the 5 section 4th grade at Antolini will go back to 4 sections for 5th grade, but that has nothing to do with Bakerville closing.

Fifth:  “Savings for the BOE = costs to the Town.”  It’s not equal.  Classrooms and administrative positions cannot be combined when there are two schools doing the same things.  It isn’t possible to combine small classrooms in one school with huge classrooms in another if they’re not in the same building.  Savings for teachers, custodians, office staff, school nurses are not costs that are transferred to the town.

Sixth:  “New Hartford will lose a valuable asset.”  No, New Hartford will still own it.  If it needs to be reopened at a later time, we’ll do the upgrades and use it.  We’ll do what we need to do.  We always have.

Connecticut is losing residents.  Every town in Northwest CT is losing student population.  What is happening in New Hartford is not unusual.  Towns all over the area are finding their enrollments declining.

If the 2010 US Census Bureau predicted a 600 resident increase by 2020, our 2016 numbers point to a big failure, or if residents are trending in that direction, they’re not bringing kids with them.

I’m going to vote “YES” because I trust the judgment of the New Hartford Board of Education.  They’ve always made sure our children’s education was top notch.  None of that is changing.  No aliens came down and took over the minds of the members of the BOE.   They are still the same concerned adults trying to do their best with no compensation for their hours of work.  Your children will continue to get a top-notch education, no matter what building it happens in.

 

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