Matt Blumenthal Opponent’s math not adding up

September 20, 2018

I was initially heartened to read Mr. Graziosi’s praise of our public education system, and his appeal to better fund it (op-ed: “State must improve funding for schools,” Sept. 12). But reading further revealed his words are hollow. After all, his policies utterly fail an essential subject: Math.

Simply put, the proposals he advocates would devastate our public schools. They would also financially harm the very people — our teachers — he purports to admire.

For a start, brand new Republican Mr. Graziosi’s campaign literature lists eliminating the income tax as a central plank of his platform. That would eradicate roughly 56 percent of the state’s revenue — and thus, most of state education funding. It would also stick Stamford and Darien with massive property-tax increases: 20 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Middle-class homeowners would be forced to shoulder a far greater portion of the cost of educating their communities’ children, while the very wealthy would get a huge, unneeded break.

He also proposes vouchers — that is, diverting already scarce funds meant for our public schools to private-school students. This would further bleed our public schools dry. It’s widely understood that vouchers undermine the diversity and global society that Mr. Graziosi claims to admire. Perhaps that’s why Betsy DeVos and the Koch Brothers are using them to “starve” the public-education system they want to destroy.

Perhaps most appallingly, Mr. Graziosi would reward our teachers’ hard work and dedication by stripping them of the protections providing them competitive wages and working conditions. Any school administrator will tell you hiring and retaining the best teachers requires good pay, benefits, and respect. In fact, going door to door, I hear from teachers who say they’ll leave for more competitive places — such as Westchester — if we forsake them here. For a view of the dismal learning environment available in Mr. Graziosi’s proposed right-to-work state, we need look no further than West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, all recently wracked by strikes.

The right way to ensure proper school funding is to build public schools up — not tear them down. I look forward to fighting alongside a Democratic delegation from Stamford and Darien to ensure that Stamford receives its fair share of state education funding, and that the state actually delivers on that formula’s promises.

That’s a plan that adds up. Mr. Graziosi’s just doesn’t. Wherever he learned his bad math, one thing is clear: he shouldn’t be allowed to inflict it on our public schools.

Matt Blumenthal is an attorney and the Democratic candidate for state representative in Connecticut’s 147th District, covering parts of Stamford and Darien.

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