At tonight’s BOE meeting, dominated by the cafeteria outsourcing issue, BFT President David Hayes was prevented from speaking because he is not a Bristol resident. A video of the meeting is here.
Instead, VP John Stavens spoke on behalf of the BFT at the 59 minute mark.
Here is the text of what David Hayes intended to deliver…
Over the past few months BFT leadership have meet with Central Office administrators to address numerous concerns at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For each grade level, we identified specific problems and offered solutions.At times, it has been a productive dialogue, and we hope that it brings real and much needed change to the Bristol Public Schools.As you know, there has been wholesale change in education nationwide with the adoption of the common core and Smarter Balanced assessment.In Connecticut, we also had sweeping education reform that was enacted two years ago, which has been in a constant state of revision since.In Bristol, we are still trying to smooth out the rough edges from the opening of the K8’s and the redistricting that occurred.We sought out this dialogue because we could see that the enormous change at all levels led to educational programs that were not giving kids the education they deserve, and this is turn has frustrated teachers, who often felt their voices weren’t being heard. Often times the decisions made by the BOE or central office, well intentioned as they may be, simply don’t have the desired results in the classroom. It’s the classic difference between the ivory tower and life in the trenches.To move this district forward, we all need to be on the same page, and respect each other’s perspectives. The teachers, who see firsthand what works and what doesn’t; administrators, who operate within the parameters you set, and yourselves, the elected members of the BOE, who navigate the difficulties of local politics and byzantine educations laws.Additionally, I wanted to congratulate the BOE on pushing for all day Kindergarten, something which many districts currently have and others are soon adopting. But despite the apparent support of the Board of Finance and City Council, Bristol’s per pupil spending is the lowest of the 15 districts in our District Reference Group, and the second lowest of all the adjacent towns. When it comes to next year’s Budget, I hope you’ll work to add the staff and programs needed to restore Bristol to one of the top performing urban districts in the state.