I was confused by Mark Benigni’s op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant (11-12) because he seemed defensive about the already-planned expanded time school day for Meriden elementary school programs from 6.5 hours to 8+ hours. First he talked about the benefits of “expanding learning time” then quickly switched to ”enrichment.” Enrichment can be anything from longer breakfast to exercise programs, nutrition classes, computer playtime, etc.
Benigni, Superintendent of Meriden Schools, never seemed clear on how enriched the elementary classes would be by spending an extra 100 minutes in school each day. CMT scores for the past school year were pretty vague, unless you went directly to the site and mostly dismissed because of the new Common Core standards. But did Barry actually improve all their scores for the year that “enrichment” was in place? Does “dance” really belong as enrichment in a program where students aren’t meeting the math and science goals that were taken for granted 30 years ago? Benigni is correct in stating that there isn’t “ a minute to spare” in meeting the demands of the 21st century. But are taxpayers comfortable with expanding the school day so the students can dance?
Patricia Barnes, Meriden
Historically, what has Wallingford looked for in a mayor? Someone with wisdom, intelligence, common sense, fiscal responsibility and concern for all taxpayers (not special interests)? Someone with integrity, trustworthiness, steadiness, experience, and thorough understanding of complex issues? How about someone with energy, leadership, professionalism, maturity, fortitude (to say “no”; “yes” is easy), and courage (to make tough, sometimes unpopular, decisions)? Someone with dedication, heart, unassuming nature, unflappable temperament, and confidence? Someone, perhaps, with the insight, vision and policies that led our town to AAA credit rating? Only one candidate fits the bill.
His name is Bill – Dickinson, of course.
Patricia J. Kohl, Wallingford
I have sent inquiries to DDS Commissioner, legislators and Gov. Malloy in regard to residential services for consumers on their waiting list. A few have responded, however the answer is the same. There is no money for residential placement for people on waiting lists, except for emergencies. Exactly what is an emergency?
I am a 70-year-old mother of a 53-year-old man who desires a more active life with his peers. My health has declined in the past 2 years, and I worry about my son when I pass. I would like to see him active, happy and healthy in a home with his peers. I worry that he will not only be traumatized by my passing, but will be taken from his home and placed who knows where.
When he was in a residential setting many years ago and put out on the street by caregiver, I was told his emergency placement would be a shelter. So I took him back with me.
There is a possibility that DDS funding will be cut by 5 percent, which would affect all their services. This very vulnerable population seems to get the short stick as far as funding goes.
I would hope that our legislators have some compassion for people like my son and do the right thing by providing them with a safe place to live. It is my understanding that individual apartments in the community is the possible future for these individuals. People like my son who function on 5-year-old level do not have the capacity to function in society with minimal supervision in an apartment setting. E-mail legislators, governor and the Commissioner of DDS regarding residential waiting lists and funding for more residential settings. We need your help to help our special needs residents find their homes.
Joanne Ouellette, Meriden
I am overwhelmed by the support of the voters of Wallingford. I am honored to have been reelected and further honored at the opportunity to continue to serve on the Town Council. I look forward to the two years to come and to working with the team elected with me. I plan to continue to work to keep taxes low while improving the quality of life for Wallingford residents.
It takes a good group to get a councilor elected in this town. I would be remiss if I did not thank all of those who worked directly with me on my campaign. A special thanks to Jane, my wife, my love, best friend, and while not always the loudest, my best cheerleader. Thanks to Jim Stavris for his countless hours dealing with the laborious requirements of being my treasurer. Thanks to Bill Pello for helping and being Jim’s deputy, ready to fill-in in a pinch. Thanks also to Bob Jacques, Dawn Pello, Liz Davis, Sharon Sanders, Kim Pisani, Chris DiGenova and Megan Perkowski. There are many more who helped, as well. We know who you are. I thank you, as well. I will do everything I can to make proud those who voted for me. Thanks to all of you.