Letter: Wilton educators are a benefit to town

To the Editors:

It was tremendously heartening to see the overwhelming vote at the Annual Town Meeting rejecting the amendment offered from the floor to reduce our school budget by $1.5 million, made by the author of your lead-off letter to the editor in this week’s issue.

The principal focus of that letter is on (1) legislative action in Hartford, and (2) our own educators’ salaries.

As to (1), the current impact seems to be a grand total of $19,000, with new teacher pension obligations expected to be imposed by the state mostly offset by the state’s educational cost sharing grant to our town (which was assumed to be zero in the present budget anyway).

As to (2), when folks speak depreciatingly about our educators’ salaries, they fail to acknowledge the fact that our educators’ pay naturally increases with their longevity and with their increased educational degree attainments. We benefit from the knowledge and experience that top-flight educators amass over their long and distinguished careers, and we enjoy the stabilizing as well as forward-moving impact of having such outstanding performers in our long-term ranks.

Indeed, we are blessed with extraordinary educators — including ones nationally recognized by leaders in their fields for their outstanding work — and our educators’ ranks are replete with many such excellent performers. Private business would be pleased to be able to boast such retention rates among their top-flight employees, and we should feel likewise about our educators.

The many Wilton residents who were part of Hands Off Our Schools proclaimed their praise and thankfulness for Wilton school educators loudly and proudly before the legislature in Hartford earlier this year, and we should repeat that proclamation implicitly with our votes on Saturday at the (continuing) polls all day at the Clune Center at Wilton High School. It’s a quick in-and-out and worth every second of your time to protect what is already a barebones school budget from any further cuts, the consequences of which would be really devastating.

Steve Hudspeth

Wilton, May 9