Referendum Fails A Third Time; Education Supporters Hope to Be Heard

Remember the days when No meant no, and Yes meant yes?


Resident Frank Lasky stood outside Newtown Middle School at 7:45 pm as he waited for the announcement about the budget referendum.  “A lot of us are voting yes because of the people who are voting for money in the education budget.” He shrugged and said, “A one percent increase is not that bad.”  

In the end, the numbers were close, with only 114 votes defeating the budget.  There were 2,112 total Yes votes, and 2,226 No.  

Carly Kron, one of those residents who waited for the results, said that she felt a silent majority of parents didn’t know how they would vote until they walked into the gymnasium to file their ballots.  

First Selectman Pat Llodra said that she had received 22 phone calls throughout the day from people who were unsure how to vote. 

“I could not have called this election,” Independent Party Chairman Bruce Walczak said, “but I think they didn’t give anyone a reason to vote.  People feel the education budget has been singled out unfairly, and people felt they just couldn’t vote for this budget.”

Walczak felt the way to get the budget passed was to eliminate $200,00 from the town budget and put money back into the education budget.

“Traditionally, the way they got the budget passed was to cut 1/3 from town, and 2/3  from education. It was almost a formula the way they cut it.  This is the first time to my knowledge that they cut education and nothing from the town,” he said. “I guess we’ll know tomorrow night.”

Michele Assante, Newtown parent, has been studying the budget and has recently gained some notoriety for her detail oriented approach, according to Walczak.  

Assante believes that the Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday night will be an important one for Newtown. “We need people to come to the LC and tell them how and why they voted the way they did.”

“We are moving in the wrong direction," she said.  "As time goes on, more and more people are upset about the education budget. We are nowhere near a same service budget for education.  We are at best 1/2 million short.” 

Assante said that at the last meeting of the Legislative Council, a council member said he had received 300 emails from people who were dissatisfied with the education budget, though Assante admitted that some of those were from residents who felt the numbers were too high. However, Assante was firm in her belief that “the budget never passes without education supporters.”

"When an initial referendum fails, I think everyone would think a cut is warranted but that they cut a million dollars and cut it all from education. It was too much of a leap,"  she said.

While what happens at the Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday night will be anyone’s guess. Walczak said, “Right now, everyone has a reason to vote no, and no one has been given a reason to vote yes.” 

Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Hoopie, you don't think that talented teachers leave schools for better paying jobs? DUH !!!
Hoopster June 12, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Randy, sure I did but because they're unionized, you can't pay them more to keep them. How are you getting around that? DUH DUH!!!!
Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Hooopie, I hope that you're not saying that all teachers are as low in intelligence and motivation as you seem to be.
Hoopster June 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Randy, what’s the matter, can’t support your own argument so you resort to insults? Act like an adult if you want people to take you seriously.
Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 03:10 AM
hooooopie, are you saying that NO union members receive advancement based on MERIT?
Hoopster June 12, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Randy, that’s been my experience with the Civil Service union and my understanding of how the teacher’s union works. For teachers, merit pay is not allowed; pay is based on time in the job and certifications. There are groups that have proposed changes to the union contracts to allow merit pay but, they have been voted down by the union members. So you have to ask yourself, why wouldn’t the majority of teachers want to be paid based on merit. Maybe “TEACHER” would like to comment on this.
Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 03:35 AM
so are you saying that certifications have no merit?
Alex Tytler June 12, 2012 at 08:45 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/us/north-dakota-voters-consider-ending-property-tax.html?_r=1&hp Here's an idea!
sadielee June 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Great Idea. Now we just need to find those hidden oil reserves in CT and we can do the same
A. G. P. June 12, 2012 at 02:13 PM
R R and R MM; You are suggesting that we uproot from family, friends, business networks, and everything else the comes with a lifetime in a place, just so you can throw money at a problem and sleep feeling like you've done your part. If you have so much money, send yours to private school (Do you like how that feels?). The rest of us are just asking for a little caution and care when it comes to spending our money. Even a good job can go away, and since everything has doubled in the last 10 yrs EXCEPT wages, it's been very hard to save. It pains us when we think about how if that job does leave, we would need to leave also,and quickly!
Paul Alexander June 12, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Sully said: "take a look at pro athletes, the ones who are paid the big $$$ are the ones who PERFORM !" Sully, you obviously subscribe to the same "Tail wags dog' world perspective as Po. You got it backwards. Compensation doesn't drive performance. Performance drives compensation. I get more depressed realizing that such a large population of ADULTS actually reason as you do.
Paul Alexander June 12, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Sadielee, North Dakota's success is NOT due to their oil reserves. Alaska has more energy in the ground, a similar population yet Alaska is in as bad a shape as most of the other states in the lower 48. Nortth Dakota's success is due largely to three things. Low taxes, low regulation and The Bank of North Dakota. ND is the ONLY state in the Union with its own bank. The Bank of ND has been a HUGE win for the state. The bank has a double digit ROA! Its partnership programs with the states residents and the states commercial banks has been a big success. Why every other state is not copying that model is beyond me.
sadielee June 12, 2012 at 08:03 PM
LOL. Come on Paul. Even you cant really believe that nonsense. ND's economy is growing rapidly because people are flocking there in droves looking for jobs tied to its oil industry. Its a fact.
Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Some more facts: NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Voters in North Dakota, where the economy is swelling with money from the oil boom, are going to the polls Tuesday to possibly get rid of property tax in the state. North Dakota boasts the lowest state unemployment rate in the country and has become the nation's second-biggest oil producer. As a result of the energy rush, government coffers are flush with revenue. "This oil boom is bringing between $4 million and $6 million every day into the state coffers and that's over and above all the other growth in other revenues," said Nelson. "The oil boom could pay for the property tax in one month."
Thomas Crafts June 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM
In a similar way they are leaving Connecticut, to escape excess taxation and a lousy business environment. What a concept, people actually do vote with their feet!
Yortuk Festrunk. June 12, 2012 at 11:03 PM
so Tommy, how is this explained? http://naugatuck.patch.com/articles/ct-among-top-10-states-with-economic-growth-in-2011-5e85bf74
sadielee June 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I'm the first to admit that CT is not very tax friendly, however, it appears from this article that the states economic growth is 4 times that of FL?? In fact FL's growth is less then half the national average?? Somebody needs to explain this to me
Po Murray June 13, 2012 at 02:03 AM
It is clear from reading the comments from here that there is a great divide betweeen the "no tax increase" contingent and "the school budget is not funded adequately" contingent. It is time to bifurcate the budget and add advisory questions to both the town side and the school side of the budeget to allow each and every person who attend the polls to communicate their desire to the elected town officials. I may or may not like the outcome but at least this budgeting process would be more democratic. The LC is in the process of commissioning a new charter revision commission. I hope some of you will throw you name in the hat. Hopefully by next year, we will be able to vote on the school and town budget separately and we will be able to answer the questions "Is the budget too high or too low" for each budget.
love newtown June 13, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Do I have to use my real name when I throw it in the hat? I can't wait to sit on a commission with Hoopster, Sadielee, Alex Tytler, jms63, Big Family, Truthteller, Sad in Newtown,A.G.P., Newtown Rocks, Yoda, Obi-wan
Thomas Crafts June 13, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Government spending is a component of gdp. Try this: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=711
Thomas Crafts June 13, 2012 at 04:48 AM
"The private economy is doing fine" haven't you heard?
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Again, If you believe ND’s success is all oil driven…then explain Alaska’s malaise (you can’t)….because… “North Dakota’s Economic “Miracle”—It’s Not Oil” http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/the-north-dakota-miracle-not-all-about-oil "Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."—George Orwell, 1984. Orwell must have known Sully, Sadilee, and Po.
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Florida is largely an agricultural state. Out of staters don’t realize that because all they see is Orlando and Miami. 2nd biggest cattle state too, behind Texas. But the difference between FL and CT is not growth. It's spending. It's not what you make it’s what you keep. That is the path to wealth. Florida is on a WAY better path right now. Oh…NO state income tax and NO death tax helps just a smidge. No property taxes on vehicles either. That is the wackiest tax ever! Right to work state…..I could go on and on.
Yortuk Festrunk. June 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Florida is being subsidized by CT and others................ Florida Federal spending received for every tax dollar paid: $1.20 Rank: 20 Rank in 2005: 34 Federal spending received for every tax dollar paid per capita: $1.68 Rankings: 1 = highest. 2010 rankings include District of Colombia. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/states-federal-taxes-spending-charts-maps
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Sully, Excellent point...but you don't (conveniently) follow through to the obvious conclusion. Lots of retirees in FL on Medicare and Social Security. You want to reverse the stats you puked up? Start means testing Medicare. You got my vote.
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
But the best thing about Florida today is that we have a Governor and Attorney General who understand the 10th Amendment and aren’t afraid to tell the Constitutional Lawyer-in-Chief and his anti-Constitution bullies to go.........themselves. You just gotta love a Governor who sues the DHS!!!
Yortuk Festrunk. June 13, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Florida has proven itself to be a Banana Republic of the worst kind.... http://www.wtsp.com/investigators/article/258177/34/Report-released-on-Floridas-corruption-problem
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Gee Sully, Scripts Research and Max Planck Research are moving into my little berg here in FL. Many other firms moving to FL. It must be the corruption and crappy schools that made them choose FL over CT.
Yortuk Festrunk. June 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Gee, Paul, you think that maybe there were a few bags of cash involved in making the decision to move to the most miserable area in the country (Forbes Magazine)? http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=257829
Paul Alexander June 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Sully, If it is your opinion that Florida is “miserable”, I can live with that. Don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the Sunshine State, but I’ll give you your opinion. But if you believe that the human condition flees from misery and flocks towards happiness, then the 2010 US Census contradicts your opinion BIG TIME. Grumpoholics not welcome.


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