Local

Common Core Revolt?

commThere’s a good opportunity to send a message nationally that could impede the agenda to shove the controversial Common Core tests down students throats. In Greenwich, a controversy is brewing as to whether students can “opt” out of taking the test. By some officials own admission, there are no sanctions if students refuse to take the test.

From Greenwich Time.com

Can students opt out of new standardized tests?
Paul Schott
Updated 11:08 pm, Saturday, April 26, 2014

What can Greenwich students do when the district gives the new Common Core exams?

Administrators say there is only one answer: Students must take the tests.

But others assert the question is multiple choice: Students can take the tests — or they can decide to sit them out.

With the arrival of the new assessments in town Monday, local debate is heating up.

Anonymous fliers calling on students to skip the exams have been circulating in the district, notably at Greenwich High School. One of them includes a form for parents to sign to authorize their children to opt out.

District officials have responded by dismissing the opt-out forms as fake and reiterating their intent for all students in the tested grades to sit for the exams.

“Let me be crystal clear: Per federal and state regulations, students do not have an `opt out’ option with the Smarter Balanced field test,” Superintendent of Schools William McKersie said in a letter Thursday to district families.

But that statement was contradicted recently by a top educational authority in the state — the chairman of the state Board of Education, who, ironically, is a major supporter of the new tests.

“There’s certainly no state law that says they can’t (opt out),” Chairman Allan Taylor, an attorney, said during a March 12 hearing of the state Legislature. “Therefore, residually, presumably they have that right. What the local district chooses to do about that is a local district decision … The state Department of Education will not be reaching down and sanctioning parents.”

This week, students throughout the district will start taking online “field tests” or pilot versions of the new exams, which were developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the exams are replacing Connecticut Mastery Tests in grades three through eight and most of the Connecticut Academic Performance Tests in grade 10. High school students will take the new tests in 11th grade.

This year’s exams will not be used for school-accountability purposes or factored into teacher evaluations. The “operational” roll out of the Smarter Balanced tests will be in 2015.

But state education officials are adamant read more

Local

New Fairfield Website Caters To Concerned Taxpayers

fairFairfield Taxpayer is a “nonpartisan grassroots group of taxpayers who are passionate about preserving Fairfield as a desirable and affordable community for all its residents,” according to the Fairfield Taxpayer Facebook page.
We are pleased to announce the unveiling of Fairfield Taxpayer. Formed last spring during the budget discussions and debates, we hail from virtually all corners of town, yet find firm and common ground in what we want Fairfield to be: a desirable and affordable community for all its residents.

Fairfield Taxpayer was formed to facilitate an informed discussion – not an argument – over what we, the town’s taxpayers, wanted Fairfield to be in the coming decade, well beyond the heat of the present budget cycle. Our aim is for our collective voice to resonate with you and others – especially with our elected officials, the folks that we have empowered to make Fairfield the best it can be.

Come visit our website: http://www.fairfieldtaxpayer.com., join us on Twitter (@FairfieldTaxpay) and on Facebook (Fairfield Taxpayer)a. These tools help us all keep the dialog going. Join with us and we’ll Follow and Friend you back….improving our communication both ways.

 

To become part of Fairfield Taxpayer, either sign up through the website or email FairfieldTaxpayer@gmail.com.

 

Local

Letter To The Editor

The following letter was sent to the editor of AllFairfield.

tax

Fairfield: No longer a Homespun, Multi-Generational Community

I was three months pregnant when I moved to Fairfield in 1984. Jacky Durrell was the First Selectman. Other than the arrival of my family, some of the big events that year included: the opening of the Route 8 Expressway, the first major north-south artery in the state; the creation of 84 two-acre home sites in a development called “The Ridge” and continued heated debate about going to one high school due to a shrinking student population.. The Fairfield Store was in its 63rd year, and Mercurio’s was still across the street. According to a NY Times article in December 1985, property taxes on a $500,000 home, based then on 45% of its value and a mill rate of 25.20, were $5,670.

Fairfield was a “homespun” town back then, in the sense that were as many as three generations of local families still thriving here. Most of our teachers, librarians, police and fire chiefs all lived in the community, along with my heating oil delivery man and many local businesses owners. Now, 28 years later, the exact opposite is the case. Most of the town’s employees, from the First Selectman to the secretaries at the Board of Education, do not own property in town, and do not have to pay a tax bill that increases each year without fail. The taxes this year on that $500,000 home which is now worth around $ 1.2 million are almost $ 20,000 (based on the housing price index for CT published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and which is now assessed on 70% of its value and taxed at a 23.37 mill rate). Our taxes have gone up at an annual growth rate of almost 5%. Inflation over the same period has been less than 3% annually.

The fact that so many of our public employees do not pay taxes in Fairfield makes it much more difficult to explain to them why we can no longer afford all of the services that the town is providing. The increase in property taxes that residents have absorbed over the last 10 years has changed the fabric of our community. Seniors feel as though they have to move out, our elected officials are renting apartments, local business owners have closed their shops and younger generations no longer feel that they can afford a home in Fairfield.

Kate Daniello

Fairfield for Good Government

Local

FGG Meeting

This public service announcement was submitted to the editor of AllFairfield by Laura Incerto.
meetingFGG MEETING
Fairfield For Good Government

Thursday, January 10, 2013, 7:00pm

Featured speaker: Dr. David Title, Fairfield Public Schools superintendent

Topic: 2013-2014 Fairfield Public Schools Budget

Location: Scandinavian Club, 1351 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield

Hosted by: Fairfielders for Good Government (FGG)

This will be a unique opportunity to speak with Dr. Title and ask questions
before the school budget is made public later that week.

David Title became Superintendent of Schools in Fairfield, CT on July 1,
2010. Before coming to Fairfield, Dr. Title served as Superintendent of
Schools in Bloomfield, CT from 2002 to 2010 and as Assistant Superintendent
of Schools in Waterford, CT from 1990 to 2002. Prior to Waterford, he served
as the assistant principal at Somers, CT High School and as a history
teacher at East Granby, CT High School and Longmeadow, MA High School.

Dr. Title earned his Doctorate in educational administration from Harvard
University and a Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts. He
received a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College, where he majored in
History.

Local

This Town Is Doing It’s Best To Run Me Out Of It.

An estimated $15 million price tag for an addition and renovations at Riverfield School appeared to take the Board of Selectmen by surprise Wednesday. Fairfield Citizen

That’s the number the Riverfield Building Committee came up with at Wednesday’s presentation, a figure that is $4 million higher than the initial estimate. First Selectman Michael Tetreau said he would like to know the details of those changes that were made from $11 million to $15million.

 

Some of those changes are:

 

Sixteen new classrooms up from six.

 

Several existing classrooms would be renovated into resource rooms and a health suite, and those classrooms need to be replaced.  Excuse me a health suite? Just what is that? Also what are  the contents of these new resource rooms?

 

A music suite? Again is that a priority or even a necessity?

 


It seems like these school renovations and additions are forever going on. One project is completed and another begins. I understand the codes have to be maintained and upgrades are necessary , but it seems to me that these expenditures go beyond that and frills are always added to mix.

 

Education is a priority for our childrens future and for our tax dollars to be spent, but on the heels of a bungled train station project that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, I would like to see a little more prudence in these building budgets

 

Local

RTM Discusses Changes To Senior Tax Relief

The RTM, in a meeting Monday night, discussed changes in the towns senior tax relief program that included raising the income limits and doing away with the tiered system for assigning credits. The tax credits are  available to Fairfield residents over 65 years of age with an annual income of less than $60,900 and assets totaling less than $500,000. Those limits would be raised  to $70,000 for income and $650,000 for personal assets.

“The intent was this will be a long-term solution to try to address concerns where taxpayers felt they had to leave the town of Fairfield because they couldn’t afford the tax,” said Tom McCarthy, chair of the Representative Town Meeting’s Senior and Disabled Tax Relief Subcommittee.

For full article read The Fairfield Daily Voice

Local

The Hiller Thriller Goes On

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don’t tell t hem to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Where’s your shame
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time

David Bowie

 

David Becker R-1 and Edward Bateson R-3 bumped heads with Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau and town attorney Stanton Lesser during Monday nights Representative Town Meeting over the increase in former Chief Fiscal officer Paul Hillers salary, in which his pension will be based on. The disagreement revolves around as to whether the retirement board has the legal authority to make that increase or whether it goes through the RTM. From Fairfield Citizen:

 

Fallout from the ouster of Fairfield’s longtime chief fiscal officer continues to spark controversy among town officials.

During a Representative Town Meeting discussion Monday of a legal opinion regarding the rules of the Employee Retirement Board, David Beck, R-1, the body’s majority leader, launched an attack on the current and prior Democratic administrations.

Ed Bateson, R-3, had asked for the opinion because he does not feel the retirement board’s rules allow for former CFO Paul Hiller‘s base salary to be bumped up to increase his pension payout. A negotiated exit agreement with Hiller, forced to resign last summer by First Selectman Michael Tetreau, states that for pension purposes his salary will be bumped from $134,591 to $155,600 immediately before he officially leaves the town payroll on June 30, 2013.

Bateson wanted to know read more

Local

Fairfield Schools’ Web Policy Face ACLU (All Computers Locked Up?) Challenge

 

“Digital storage and electronic devices used for school purposes, whether district or personally owned, will be treated as district technology resources. Therefore, all students must be aware that they should not have any expectation of personal privacy in the use of these resources.”

 

That’s the clause in a proposed internet usage policy for Fairfield schools that is being challenged by The Connecticut chapter of the ACLU. David McGuire, an attorney for the chapter has sent a letter to the School board warning that the policy may be illegal under the fourth amendment. A section of the proposed policy would let teachers and administrators look through students’ personal computers and other devices such as iPods, and cell phones.

 

The policy was revised by the school boards policy committee to comply with changes in the state’s Child Internet Policy Act regarding first-degree harassment via the Internet.

From Fairfield Patch:

The Fairfield school board’s policy committee will have to revise a proposed amendment to the district’s Internet use policy after it sparked response from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The committee was tasked with revising the Internet use policy to comply with changes in the state’s Child Internet Policy Act regarding first-degree harassment via the Internet.

The proposed policy revision aims to — through the use of filtering controls on the district’s network — “protect [the district’s] students from exposure to Internet materials that are harmful, inappropriate, or explicit,” according to the document.


clause that the ACLU fears will violate students’ constitutional rights to privacy:

“Digital storage and electronic devices used for school purposes, whether district or personally owned, will be treated as district technology resources. Therefore, all students must be aware that they should not have any expectation of personal privacy in the use of these resources.”

Because the district allows read more

Local

Fairfield For Good Government Meeting Announcement

 

Local

Not A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On

The winner in the race for  Representative in the 134th Assembly District Tony Hwang, refused to shake his opponent Michael Murrens hand, citing his distaste for the personal mudslinging  Murren engaged in during the campaign.

From The Fairfield Citizen:

Murren, however, said that his experience in politics soured when Hwang refused to shake his hand on Election Night.

“My kids were with me. I go to shake his hand, he says, `No,’ and he turned his back on me,” he said.

Hwang said he didn’t shake Murren’s hand because of the personal mud-slinging his opponent engaged in. Read

Local

UPDATE: Recount For Kupchick And Drew

mainstusa.blogspot.com

As expected with a victory of just 13 votes, a recount will take place at The Senior Center on Tuesday at 10:00 Full story Fairfield Patch


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