Sherr and von Braun’s plan was disruptive to process

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Given the issues facing our public schools, we need a Board of Education that can work collaboratively. However, threatening a return to the in-fighting seen several years ago, two members introduced a “proposal to save neighborhood schools” via an article (Greenwich Post, Aug. 29) without sharing it with colleagues first.

The two members would have you believe that neighborhood schools in Greenwich are under “threat” of attack. That’s far from the truth. The board, listening to the community, is doing all it can to protect neighborhood schools. They’ve embraced choice and rejected major redistricting and forced busing. We support this and believe the focus needs to be on achievement of students at all schools.

The “proposal” is an amalgamation of existing programs and ideas. That would have been clear to the two members if they’d worked cooperatively with colleagues and attended the many public forums on this matter. Instead, the result of putting this “proposal” forward was to disrupt a public process that has been playing out over the last several months. One of the other board members called the “proposal” misguided.

Relying on parent volunteer lawyers, the two members claim there’s a loophole that will exempt compliance with the state racial balance law by calling New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue “unique” schools. Interestingly, one of the authors previously indicated the board needed to consult a “highly experienced constitutional lawyer.” The state has already indicated that the schools don’t qualify for “unique” status. The authors would have realized they could not simply ignore the statute had they done some basic due diligence and asked the State Department of Education a few basic questions.

Also, while any board member could have called for a vote to ask the state to render a formal opinion, the two proponents remained silent. An opinion from the state would allow Greenwich to decide whether to continue moving forward or mount a challenge.

We need to move beyond posturing. It’s time for the board to work cooperatively to reach conclusions about advancing student achievement, eliminating capacity constraints and dealing with the racial balance law.

 

Peter Bernstein
Brian Peldunas

Greenwich

 

The writers are the endorsed Republican candidates for the Board of Education.

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