A Third Referendum for High School Not Needed 
  Valley Times                   to Editor                    A-7/15/01

I am so happy that the new Derby High School vote was in favor of the opposition.  Final tally was 1,400 for and 1,889 against.  Alderman Michael Kelleher wants to spend taxpayersí money to bring back a third referendum.  Itís time Kelleher resigned from office. He is way out of control.

Doctor Martin Gotowola defines overcrowding as a teacher/pupil ratio of one teacher for every 25 students.  Thatís his version, and thatís debatable.  That isnít a high percentage when you consider some college lecture halls pack them in with one professor for every 75 to 100 students.  Preparing students for college require a competitive edge in a competitive classroom-like atmosphere.  Iíve been in Bradley and Irving schools as well as the high school, and there are empty classrooms at any given time throughout the school day.  This overcrowding is bogus.

These politicians also donít talk TO you, they talk DOWN TO you or RIGHT THROUGH you.  They had it set up that we need a solution to the overcrowding problem even if this referendum failed.  They are going to browbeat the public with headlines of overcrowding in the Derby public schools until the opponents cry ďUNCLE,Ē and give in to some kind of ďsolutionĒ to their ďproblem.Ē  Thatís what these people do!  Thatís how they operate.  They intimidate, using these students as weapons for their war for more money.  I notice when the students have having problems during class, though, some of these teachers refuse to stay after school and help them with the subject.  After school is the best time to learn if you hare having problems because the class size is reduced.  Ten students maybe having problems out of 25, and thatís the perfect time for them to make up their assignments, or learn more than they would during class.  They say they need more money for education, yet I know students who have to hold fund raisers to buy clay for ceramics class.  Some students donít have updated textbooks, or lined white paper for tests, but instead use yellow scratch paper.  There hasnít been much that has changed in the six years that I have been there.  Millions will be spent on furniture, bricks, glass windows, tiled floors, athletic fields and the actual instructional supplies arenít even up to date in some of these classrooms.

Iím glad this referendum failed.  These politicians care about themselves and their votes.  As for property values plummeting as a result of this schoolís failure to pass, this is not Derbyís Armageddon.  Iíve said it before: people do NOT move to the Valley for the school system.  Housing is still relatively cheaper here than in Fairfield and Litchfield counties; BUT you can still SELL a house for a good price if you want to move.  You donít have to use the school system as an excuse.  Besides, is a schoolís function to raise and lower property values?  I always thought its only goal was to educate.

When Derby said no to this new school, they didnít only say no to higher taxes but to lies, to corruption, to an administration that is out of control and used to having its own way all the time, to censorship, and to people with no integrity.  The Board of Education doesnít even have the courtesy to send line item budgets to our homes once a year so taxpayers can see how their taxes are directly impacting Derby public school childrenís educational future.  They just demand money, and we are supposed to hand it over to them. I hope in the future, The Derby Board of Apportionment and Taxation discontinues that practice until we see some academic results.  Michael Kelleher wanted solutions from the opposition, then Iíll give him one: get back to educating the youth of Derby and quit degrading our school system.  No wonder why my friends are turned off by politics and donít vote.  One friend said to me recently, ďSee what they tried to do to your paper, Paul, and even someone who works for your paper tried to censor those writers.Ē

ďWhy should I bother to write, it isnít worth my time for that or to vote.Ē

I believe it is.  Iím not forgetting what happened here either, and how important a VOICE in voting and in editorials really are.  To kids in their 20ís I say you get out and you VOTE, and you CARE, because itís going to belong to us some day, and we donít need to be CENSORED, especially by ourselves!

Thanks go this newspaper, a million of them, for giving ALL of us a voice in the community. Great civilizations start to crumble when censorship takes over.

And we will have none of that in America if we can fight against it.

PAUL ROBERTSON
Derby