Op-Ed: An Open Letter to the Greenwich Community
By Salvatore J. Corda
On Monday, May 8, the RTM approved the town budget, which included the appropriation for the Board of Education.
Despite the concerns expressed by some about the need to reduce our budget, I was gratified to see that our budget was approved as submitted. I am most appreciative for the support of the RTM for our budget. We worked long and hard to develop a budget that supports the work of our district, your district. Every expense line was examined thoroughly and we asked the hard questions that have to be asked when developing a budget that is intended to maintain the level of excellence of the district and be respectful of the difficult financial times in which we live.
For me, the process of shepherding the budget through to its eventual adoption was a learning experience that has made me a better educator and leader. The commitment of our Board of Education to be absolutely sure that the budget they were approving met its high standards; the support of the Town Selectmen and their staff, the vetting process of the BET Budget Committee to ensure that our proposed expenditures were appropriate; the approval by the full BET; the review of the RTM Budget Overview Committee, the RTM Education Committee, and the other RTM committees that reviewed our budget and the meetings with the individual RTM District Committees were time consuming, but productive and, many times, exhilarating. The PTAC leadership and all of the members who do so much to support our schools are also deserving of our gratitude. Our community should be proud of, and grateful for, the many volunteers who give of their time and expertise in support of the work of government and the well being of the community. This is why Greenwich has the reputation of being one of the premier communities in the country. It is the implementation of democracy at its finest.
We have an outstanding school district. The breadth of achievements of our students in every area of the school experience—academics, arts, athletics and extra-curricular activities have earned Greenwich the national reputation that it has. The list of recognitions that our students have received in this past year alone would fill pages. This only happens if we have dedicated and outstanding teachers, school and district leaders who know how to lead and view themselves as serving students first and foremost, and a Board of Education that is not afraid to ask the hard questions that will enable our district to get better. As good as we are in so many areas, there are still areas where we have to get better. We know it, we are working on it, and we intend to reach our goals. Our community demands it and our children deserve it.
Some members of the RTM made suggestions to reduce our budget. I applaud their willingness to make unpopular suggestions because they were for all of the right reasons. Obviously, I disagree with them, but I commend them for their willingness to do the hard thing. To those who made the suggestions and to those who supported them, I pledge to you that the district will continue to look long and hard at all aspects of our programs and operations to see how we can do things better and more efficiently. The Board of Education will be guided by the direction set by the RTM and the BET and the new superintendent will execute the wishes of the Board. I appreciate the support you have provided in helping our new superintendent to do her job.
I want to thank all who have made my time here such a great experience. Your insights, directions, and support have made the job of the interim superintendent an opportunity to continue to move the district forward. Because of this support, from my first day, it was easy to feel like I was “home.”
Salvatore J. Corda, Ph.D., is interim superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools.