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First Selectman: ‘I’m Worried about a Storming of the Bastille Tonight’

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi says he's concerned that misinformed parents will crowd a meeting at the New Canaan Police Department tonight, expecting that they'll have a chance to comment on the school budget.

 

New Canaan’s highest-elected official said Tuesday that he’s concerned about a “storming of the Bastille” by public school parents following an email from the Board of Education seeking a show of support at a public meeting where there’s no room for public comment.

“I need to remind everyone that by Charter, by custom, by tradition in this town, public comment is reserved for the last Board of Finance meeting, which is March 12,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said (see video).

Just 52 people are allowed by fire code in the meeting room at the New Canaan Police Department, site of a 7:30 p.m. special meeting of the Board of Finance.

It’s not unusual for the Board of Ed to push back, as it is this year, when officials seek to reduce the amount of money requested from the town. The organized effort to galvanize public schools parents, via an email sent Monday, is a little more unusual. The school board’s letter, attached as a PDF, breaks down its $78.8 million operating budget request and makes a case for full approval.

“I’m worried when I read these emails about the potential for a storming of the Bastille tonight, for lack of a better phrasing,” Mallozzi said.

Cobie Graber March 06, 2013 at 03:40 PM
I tried to attend the meeting, but there was no room and no way to hear. When I went home to listen, the streaming audio quality was poor and, even on the loudest volume, sound went in and out. I am disappointed that the meeting was not broadcast on television and that the room was so small in light of the public interest in attending. That said, I applaud the BOF for watching the bottom line. In these economic times, it is prudent to revisit every line item and brainstorm with the community ways to save. The BOE has a very difficult year because of promised increases that the BOF had a hand in approving. As the Town Hall project demonstrates, putting off maintenance costs the town in the long run. Let's not let our schools crumble. Do we really care about a guard at the front door when we may have portables in the near future? I have faith in Dr. Kolek and our BOE, and know that working together we can find ways to maintain our high quality of education and, in turn, high property values.
Great Good March 06, 2013 at 04:51 PM
There were numerous parents in attendance, many of whom had to stand in the room for 4 hours to listen to the meeting, or sit on the floor because no seating was made available. I heard that the other town meeting that night, which was held at the Nature Center, and televised on channel 79, was the Planning and Zoning meeting. When our town officials started receiving numerous emails of concern, about parents, they knew full well that many parents would try to attend these meetings. Why was the location of the meeting not switched to the Nature Center, or instead moved to the Wagner Room, which also has recording availability? Maybe the meeting could then have been televised on the town's education channel, Channel 78, so the rest of our community could see and hear what was discussed. Board of Finance and Town Council Members: Please plan ahead for the remaining school budget meetings so that they are held in rooms that can accommodate the community be televised on cable? Parents will be attending!
Ade March 06, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Great Good - You will be better served by sending this request directly to the BOF, TC and BOE.
Great Good March 08, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Excellent idea!

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