On Thursday, February 23rd, the BOE held a special meeting to vote on the 2023-24 budget.
You can read all about the budget, how it will lead to an increase in taxes, and our proposal for the taxpayers to get more value for the money we put into education:
As you prepare for the regular monthly board meeting with public comment this Tuesday, February 28th, we wanted to share with you Nataliya Trofort's speech from the special budget meeting. If you recall, Mrs. Trofort is the mother of Elijah, and they spoke out during the January public comment to share the ongoing bullying Elijah is experiencing at Westhill. Most recently, in January, Elijah was punched in the head in the boys bathroom and the student who did it was not punished because there was no video evidence and the student denied it (though this same student has been recorded on snapchap taunting Elijah in the bathroom. We continue to sort through the mounds of evidence and will share the entire ordeal soon).
The speech in re-printed in full exactly as it was shared with us by Mrs. Trofort:
This is Nataliya Trofort, mother of Elijah who is one of the many students being denied a free and appropriate public education. We shared with you all last time the details of our still ongoing ordeal and have detailed them in a Connecticut Human Rights & Opportunity complaint.
When I saw that the budget was up for discussion tonight, I knew I had to take the opportunity to remind you that despite the millions of dollars you see on the paper, the resources are not making it to the classrooms or being used to ensure all children receive a free and appropriate public education.
At your meetings you were unable to state the average student to teacher ratio of our special education classes and when the math was done for one of the elementary schools, it was shown there would be 14 or 15 students per classroom with 1 teacher and little support.
Next, on page 43 of the superintendents budget request, in the section titled "variance analysis", the budget shows a 17.7% increase in legal fees Mainly driven by your legal team fighting special education parents like me. Parents who are just trying to ensure their children have access to the same curriculum as other students and that their children aren't locked away in the ASD classroom and never given a chance as the school tried to do to Elijah in an attempt to hide him away rather than deal with the students who are bullying him.
(screen shot from the Superintendent 2023-24 Budget Request - January 2023)
That's over $112,000 more than the amount required to place Elijah in a school that could meet his needs. Instead, the district has actively fought to suppress my concerns, accused me of not knowing what is best for my son, and now they're trying to run out the clock so they can push him out the door and move on.
Please take these thoughts into consideration when looking at the budget and ask, what are we really getting for our money in special education? Why are we spending so much money to fight parents instead of supporting them and improving our programming? Why are you not proving fair and appropriate public education?
We encourage you take advantage of the Public Comment to voice your concerns. Check out the agenda and get the email address to sign up here: drive.google.com/file/d/1ClxL3OVOdB9X0-TMQVlWPfo3u5qNR_3h/view
If you cannot make the meeting, please e-mail the Board of Education members. You can find their emails on the BOE homepage: www.stamfordpublicschools.org/board-of-education
You can also email StamfordParentsUnited@gmail.com or bcc us on emails so that we can support you in getting answers from the board and creating positive change for our district.