I have made quite a few mistakes in my life.
If I had to do it all over again though, I’m not sure I’d change too many things.
Most of the questionable decisions I’ve made in the past forty five years have taught me quite a bit about the kind of person I hope to be and have helped to shape me as a parent.
I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.
Except for one. One really big one.
Our family moved to Brookfield six years ago. At the time, we had five children.
Since moving here, we have added two more to the mix, and next year we will have one child in each of the schools in the district.
But the school district we moved here for and the school district that exists now are nowhere near the same.
And it’s getting worse.
The “gentlemen” running this town do not care about the quality of your children’s education. They do not have children of their own in any of our schools. Our First Selectman does not even own a home in Brookfield.
But these men who have no skin in the game (and no home in the town) are making all the decisions for those of us who do.
They are not striving for academic excellence. They do not care whether or not your children receive the best education possible.
No. The fact of the matter is the majority of the members of the Board of Finance believe that if you want a quality education for your children you should pay for it yourself.
They will keep your taxes as low as they can. But they have no problem telling you to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a private school so your kid can get a decent education.
And as much as I’d like to say that the embarrassing state of our town and the deterioration of our school systems rest on the shoulders of the handful of men who have managed to obtain most of the decision making power in Brookfield, well, that just wouldn’t be true.
They are not the only problem.
By being unaware and uninformed and uninvolved, I have been a part of the problem.
And if you are uninvolved and turning a blind eye, then you are a big part of the problem, too.
Believe me, I get it. We have a lot of kids. We have baseball and swim team and concerts and homework and a billion other things to do every night.
Going to PTO meetings and Board of Ed meetings and town meetings is not my idea of a great time. It’s boring. It’s not fun.
But you know what is even less fun?
Seeing the opportunities your children have for growth and development slowly being stripped away.
Paying for your kids to play a high school sport? That sucks.
Yes. For those of you who have little kids who are not yet in the public schools, those middle school and high school sports teams you played on for free when you were a kid?
You have to pay for that now because the BOF cut so much money from the education budget.
Sure, they will save you $40 in taxes next year.
But in return, you’re gonna have to shell out 150 bucks for your kid to play high school basketball.
You can do the math.
But your kids might not be able to by the time they get into school. Because by then who knows how many teachers will be left in the district.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Programs are being cut. Teachers are being cut. The Board of Finance is not giving our schools even the minimum amount of money necessary to meet our children’s basic needs.
And if you do not involve yourselves in what is going on in Brookfield, if you don’t register to vote, inform yourself, and then actually get your butt to the polls, things are going to suck even worse.
My children are all going to miss out on opportunities because I chose to be ignorant and lazy.
And I regret that.
Don’t be a dumbass like me.
Get informed. And get your butt to the polls and vote on the town budget tomorrow (TUESDAY, MAY 19th), and even more importantly, in November when you will have the opportunity to elect people into office who truly care about your children.
Don’t know who to vote for?
Ask questions. That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s not as overwhelming as you might think.
It’s certainly eye-opening.
And once your eyes have been opened, once you have educated yourself, you will want to make your voice heard.
It’s not too late to make a difference.
Whether you vote yes or no, get your ass out and vote.
Get involved. Now.
Your kids are depending on you.
Our teachers are depending on you.
And the Brookfield that we all moved here for is definitely depending on you, too.