Q. Over the course of the past few months during our Connecticut state budget crisis, I became very concerned as a community member about the impact that funding has on extra curricular activities. As the superintendent of schools for the Somers School District, I was interested in the stance taken by administration on the funding and importance of such activities as the arts program (i.e. band, chorus, drama, art), sports (i.e. soccer, field hockey, cross country), and after school clubs (i.e. Unity Team, Model United Nations), as well as their impact on the student populous. Do you feel that it is very important to fund these programs? If so, what is being done to assist with the creation and maintenance of such activities within the district? How should our state government assist with this funding, and how will the budget cuts to the Somers schools affect funding for these programs? I feel that this is a very important concern that must be addressed by the school administration, with the decision leaving a distinct impact on the student population for years to come.
A. The arts and extracurricular activities are vitally important components to a child's education. Both the Board of Education and I feel very strongly that we should provide as many diverse opportunities to all students as possible. In the past the Board has enthusiastically supported funding the arts and extracurricular activities and I anticipate they will in the future. We are faced with some tough budget choices going forward in light of reduced municipal aid from the state. The best way to assure that we continue to get the appropriate funding for all our programs is to be active in the budgeting process and communicate with state legislators to advocate for responsible state aid to all municipalities.