Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perugini is Ready To Make the Right Choices

As some of you may know by now, I am seeking election to the Board of Education. My wife & I chose to live in Cheshire 10 years ago because of the wonderful community and our great school system. Cur children are students of the Cheshire public schools and we care very much for our school system. Our daughters' desire, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn have been a major inspiration to us. That's why I decided to run for the Board of Education...

These are just some of the issues you've raised to me during my campaign but I chose to focus on our finances in this letter. Smaller class sizes, hiring the best qualified teachers we can find, implementing a more rigorous curriculum, long-term infrastructure planning, technology in the classrooms, balancing our needs vs. our wants...our budget helps make these goals happen. As with our core education foundation: Reading, Writing, Math & Science...our budget foundation must also be solid. It starts with the right leadership asking the tough questions and making the right choices. On November 3rd, please vote for a solid, long-term quality education system that responsibly exceeds the needs our community. Vote for Tony Perugini. Thank you.

Tony Perugini

Read the rest here.


Contoured Views said...

Tony--You have my vote!

Just curious, did you look at the New Haven Teacher's contract that gave only 3%?
It is intriguing because they also are holding the teacher's responsible for low test scores. They have in place a plan to get rid of the sub-standard teachers.
I don't know why we would have to give a higher increase to our teachers. We should be able to do that here in Cheshire.
I would think New Haven teachers have it a lot harder.
We need the fiscal responsibility to begin at the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Someone with common sense. You have my vote.

Anonymous said...

May be tough to hold on to your views if elected. Lots of whiney parents who want to pour moeny into schools and then leave Cheshire after their kids long term thinking.

Bill said...

Stop with "I moved to Cheshire for the education" stuff. That reasoning is a joke and so is the school system. The BOE & Florio use spending per pupil as a rallying cry, but never really explain how much of the $10,500 per pupil is in salaries & benefits. The American school system has been taken over by the educrats and focus on promoting staff and salaries then use test scores as justification for more teachers and higher salaries if the scores are low and use the same scores to justify more teachers and higher salaries if the test scores are high.

All you hear today from the teaching staff is "nice job" constant compliments to the kids. Reason is they say, positive reinforcement makes them better students. The rest of the world focuses on education; math, science the arts, we in the US focus on sports. Big problem. Higher salaries, better benefits does not make teachers better. Our school system need to focus on education, practical application of that education, athletics should take a second seat. The reason people say they move here for the school system is the way to state they move here due to lack of crime. The drug & alcohol problem in our school system is equal to others in in our DRG.

Tony Perugini said...


Yes, I did look at the NH teacher's contract, and others, this week. On the surface, the NH contract seems like a Win-Win for NH. It's encouraging to see that the unions are taking responsibility in this economy.

Trying to compare the NH education system to Cheshire's education system is like comparing apples to oranges. Cheshire does benefit from a good school system. No, we're not perfect and there's much room for improvement.

I'm cautiously optimistic for NH. I think it's great to hold teachers and administrators to a performance standard. The proof will be in the objective criteria set forth for the evaluations AND if N.H. can actually enforce that criteria. Only time will tell.

Thanks for the vote! Tell your friends. :-)

- Tony

Tony Perugini said...

"May be tough to hold on to your views if elected. Lots of whiney parents who want to pour moeny into schools and then leave Cheshire after their kids long term thinking."

11:31, I don't understand what you're saying. If you're suggesting that we have a fair amount of families moving into Cheshire to take advantage of the school system and then leaving when their children graduate High School I would agree with you. But it appears, at least on the surface, that our enrollment numbers are high year over year suggesting that families are willing to move to Cheshire and pay taxes. Can you explain how this impacts long-term planning?

- Tony

Tony Perugini said...

Stop with "I moved to Cheshire for the education" stuff. That reasoning is a joke and so is the school system.

Bill, what I actually wrote is the following "My wife & I chose to live in Cheshire 10 years ago because of the wonderful community and our great school system."

And it's true so I'll continue saying it. I also think our school system is far from being a joke.

I do agree that test scores cannot be the panacea to what ails our education system. We cannot measure our education based on test scores alone because test scores do not tell the whole story. I do believe our test scores will plateau over the next two years. I discussed my reasons on this at the BOE candidate forum but I'll try to summarize here:

We are managing our curriculum and students to NCLB and test scores rather than managing our curriculum to meet/exceed the needs of our students, which in turn, helps our test scores.

1 out of every 4 doors I've knocked on during the last 4 months have yielded issues with our curriculum be it the actual course content, instruction, administration, policy, etc. Math comes up a lot.

There's a fair amount of parents frustrated with our school system. Some have actually pulled their children from our schools and put them into private schools so they'll get the proper instruction needed for college.

The curriculum, as good as it was, needs an audit/review to bring it up to a level whereby teachers have the flexibility they need to alter course content to meet the needs of their class but it must also change to challenge our students more often and earlier on in their education.

As for the does have a big target on it's back. I think the only way anyone outside of the administration and BOE is going to understand what's actually in the budget is to start by breaking it down into the following:

- List all MANDATORY State & Federal mandates that must be met by our education system. Tie each mandate to specific budget accounts and dollars. This paints a picture of what we are required to spend money on.

- Break out spend on other non-federal, non-state mandated items. Tie this to specific budget accounts and dollars. This is going to identify the needs, must-have's and wants.

I don't see how anyone outside of the administration can look at our capital budget and operating budget and decipher any of the above from it. It's in the BOE's best interests (as well as our students) to make this information transparent and understandable. Otherwise, I don't see how we can justify spending money on emotionally-fueled arguments.

My 2 cents,
- Tony

Anonymous said...

Enrollment is going down. But I have to agree with 11:31 in that parents are under this mixed up impression that the more you spend, the better it'll be for their kids. To stand in front of the Board during budget meetings when they're discussing needed reductions to what was a $60 million dollar a year budget and all they have to say is, "I moved to Cheshire just for the school system and I think you should approve Dr. Florio's budget just as proposed" is the poorest,most uninformed comment they could make. Nearly none of these people ever attend any of the regular BoE meetings and they only show up at the last budget committee meeting when reductions get discussed. They don't follow the budget and aren't aware of what really goes on in the schools. It's pretty frustrating to the rest of us who follow the issues and live here in town for many reasons like family, jobs, safety, the small town feel, etc.

Good luck, Tony. You do have my vote.

Anonymous said...

I moved my kids out of the public schools this year because I found the teachers they had were becoming babysitters rather than teachers. They would spend more time trying to keep the problem kids in check, while the other kids sat and watched.
Now, they actually have teachers who are willing to stay after school (on their own time)to offer extra help. They even have teachers who will come in early to work with kids individually. Lets see our teachers do that. They can't wait to run out when that bell rings.
I don't mean to lump all the teachers into that cattegory, I am sure there are some who truly care about their profession. It is just my personal experiences that I am relaying.
We moved to Cheshire for the educaion system and now we are not even using it and feel our kids are better off. It is sad.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you. I had a good friend of mine move here and then took his kids back to the Meriden school system because they didn't wear the "right" jeans. It's a shame that it happens. As far as moving to Cheshire for the ED system, how about all the 55 and over condo's that people buy. I believe all the things that make Cheshire a good value attracts new people, not just education. We have to maintain and support all of our assets..

Anonymous said...

Just because this is "Cheshire" is no reason to think that our teachers are the best. My children were educated in Cheshire schools and they had good and very bad teachers. I feel that New Haven has the right idea if teachers do not perform they should be fired. Tenure gives teachers all the power, if they don't do their job there isn't anything the school system can do. Wrong!

Anonymous said...

As long as the schools are union dominated, we will continue to have high cost inferior education.

What we have is a work force that doesn't have to perform and is greatly overpaid for a part-time job. There was a time when teachers were underpaid, but now it is unbelievable what they are paid and how little is expected of them.

In the private sector, your salary is based on your performance not on how long you've been employed or how many degrees you have. In the private sector, if the work you do, can be done cheaper by aomeone else, then you better start worrying about being replace or outsourced.

Right now, there is an oversupply of people qualified to teach. Like everything else the market should set salaries, not unions. Why are we paying $90,000 a year for over 100 teachers?