The Non-Stop Politicizing of Education in Danbury Can Drive a Person to Madness

By Al Robinson -

On one side, we have Democratic state lawmakers locked in step with unions and anti-charter school advocates, who claim that the city should increase school funding while dismissing the possible benefits a charter school could provide to the city. On the other side, local elected officials who won re-election on a pro-charter school platform allege that the city’s state delegation failed to advocate for increased state funding for educational operating expenses.

Here's the irrational part: both sides are right.

For the Democrats, the suggestion that the primary cause for the lack of funding stems from the local level is questionable when you consider that the city receives a lower amount of state aid in comparison to other communities of similar size.

According to data collected by the School and State Finance Project, Danbury local and state funding is meager in comparison to similar-sized communities. It's offensive that our tone-deaf state delegation cannot get its act together regarding the embarrassingly low level of school funding the city receives through the state Educational Cost Sharing formula.

For Republicans, the suggestion that the primary cause of the lack of funding stems from a lack of funds from the state level is equally suspicious when you consider that data show the city ranks near the bottom in terms of school funding on the local level. This revelation should enrage residents as they see an increase in property taxes.

In other words, everyone has egg on their face, and the residents of Danbury who must endure underfunded schools are the big losers.

Danburians who have endured overcrowded/under-funded schools for decades are more than justified in blaming ALL politicians for the city's educational problems. In short, Danbury residents are being held hostage in an endless game of finger-pointing, in which honest, academic concerns are being overlooked in favor of scoring political points.

In the end, the biggest losers are the children who continue to endure overcrowded schools and a lower quality of public education.

With Danbury seeing the second-highest rise in population growth in the state (second only to Stamford), the topic of education funding will not dissipate anytime soon. Let us all hope that the rhetoric around school funding will end, in exchange for realistic solutions to the city's education woes.

Children in Danbury deserve better than what they're witnessing from the adults in the room, who are supposed to have their base interests at heart.

Madness; it's complete madness.