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Property Values and Education

Property values are linked to education and both have drastically suffered under the current administration.

The housing market in Monroe is dropping while our neighboring towns of Trumbull and Shelton are rising. Monroe has experienced price reductions compared to our neighbors. For example the per square foot price of a Monroe home has dropped over the last two years while the price of a home in Trumbull and Shelton has increased.

According to statistics from the Board of Realtors, Monroe property values have dropped from $168 per square foot to $161 while Trumbull in the same time frame went up from $200 per square foot to $203 and Shelton went from $170 to $182.

What is keeping young families from moving to Monroe? Anybody in real estate will tell you that people buy homes based in large part upon the quality of schools. The fact is property values are linked to education and both have drastically suffered under the current administration.

As student classroom ratios rise, a school system becomes less desirable and families begin to look elsewhere. Home buyers with growing families are focused in on finding the best school district for their children's education.

The overall trend during the Vavrek administration has been cuts to services, programs, and instruction. I believe in protecting the quality of our school system, not with a blank check, but by advocating for austere budgets which keep core programs in place.

Make no mistake, I am a moderate when it comes to fiscal matters. But we have seen two years of extreme cuts that are not only hurting the school system but also causing our property values to go down. Many will respond by saying that dollars do not directly equate to quality and I agree. Yet, lack of dollars year in and year out lead to no other outcome but a steady decline in quality. I believe in the adage about being penny wise and pound foolish.

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Rt25 October 19, 2011 at 06:26 PM
The education of my children is more important to me than paved roads, renovations to a municipal building or economic development. If I were to prioritize it would be 1) Education 2) Economic development 3) roads 4) renovations to a municipal building.
Charlie Brown October 19, 2011 at 06:43 PM
@Ron - economic development under Vavrek? Really? Please explain. There is no economic development coordinator. Seems we lost a record amount of business under Vavrek. The only plan I heard was to bring in AMEC trash facility.
QWERTY October 19, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Answer me this education folks - If you continue increasing the education budget and taxes continue to go up since the majority burden falls on the Monroe household, how do you appeal to senior citizens? Aged 60+ seniors make up 18% (my estimate) of Monroe. That's an 18% tax base where the town is making a PROFIT since none of these households have children in Monroe's school system. This 18% more than likely will not relocate, they more than likely do not care about the value of their property, they are on a fixed income...raising taxes to fund education, a benefit this group has absolutely no stake in, will only further isolate them. When this group recedes and family households take their place, further dismantling the tax-base to student ratio, what do you propose then?
Charlie Brown October 19, 2011 at 07:14 PM
QWERTY - When the seniors went to school somebody paid taxes for them to attend. When the seniors had kids in the schools someone had to pay taxes for them too. Does that mean that I shouldn't have to pay into social security because I may never get anything out of it when I retire? There is senior tax relief in Monroe and at the state level. Also, please note that the education budget went up by 0% this year. It was the town budget that went up 7 or 8%.
jon watson October 19, 2011 at 07:46 PM
When "Seniors" went to school costs were manageable. Senior tax relief? Only if you are living at a subsistence level. How about for three years we just reverse the budget. The schools get 30% and the town side gets 70%.
QWERTY October 19, 2011 at 07:49 PM
You still didn't answer the question... This needs to be addressed or the education issue only gets worse. I know most people who support the education budget can't understand this though...
Designated Hitter October 19, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Qwerty, there are plenty of people who choose a town b/c of school system first (over location). It is our preference. A preference is neither right nor wrong. Perhaps more people chose location over schools, I don't care. And, more folks are working from home/telecommuting making location w/respect to a job less relevant for many.
Walt October 19, 2011 at 09:21 PM
On my street there are 12 houses. 10 of those houses have no children in the school system now, but two of that 10 had kids in school until about five years ago. 2 would qualify as seniors, 2 currently have children in the system, myself included. It's not just seniors without kids who are supporting the ed system, some on my street chose not to have children. The town should get down and genuflect to these people, that they stay in town when other more reasonable choices are available.
Patrick O'Hara October 19, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Just as an FYI the maximum eligible income for Senior Tax relief is $55,000. The relief at the income would be $500. A call to the Assessors office to review possible eligiblity is free. The person who handles this stuff is very nice.
Ron October 19, 2011 at 10:17 PM
Failed? We got there over dozens of years.
Ron October 19, 2011 at 10:19 PM
The town budget was passed on the first try because the voters thought a 0% increase for education and 7% for the town was right. Deal with it.
Christine E. October 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I attended Public School in a town with one of the school systems in the state. Yes, the budget was and is high - but the town has the property values and commercial tax base to support it. Monroe does not have this luxury, and the tax payers continue to get screwed. A school system is a direct reflection of the town. How can we strive for a phenomenal school system when we don't have a phenomenal town to back it up? When referendum time is here, and budgets are put up in front of the voters, it's your neighbors - your community - that votes it down. Like it or not - Residents were speaking loud and clear, and Vavrek was listening.
Patrick O'Hara October 19, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Are your income figures for those 65 or older or surviving spouses over 60?
Mickey Spillane October 20, 2011 at 01:17 AM
@Zoo - your numbers are way off, unless it is just for senior citizens?? The median income in Monroe is about $108,000.
Ron October 20, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Christine E.- finally someone out there gets it. Instead of writing notes in the Patch blog, get out and convince your fellow citizens of Monroe to approve higher budgets for education and/or Town services.
jim laguardia October 20, 2011 at 02:08 PM
i propose they give back any money the taxpayers dumped into the senior center and cars to drive them around.... thats just me, i dont speak for all the "education folks"
jon watson October 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM
I don't know is Ms. Kansky believes in education or just higher taxes but again the NYT prints an article that should be part of the debate in Monroe at least among those who read: "In Silicon Valley, No Computing at School" by MATT RICHTEL. What works for students is good teaching and for the students' part their own efforts to learn how to think. As is pointed out in the article, "Some education experts say that the push to equip classrooms with computers is unwarranted because studies do not clearly show that this leads to better test scores or other measurable gains." Rather, "“Teaching is a human experience,” he said. “Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.”
captrips October 26, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Is this candidate serious? Barring unsubstantiated statistics from the "Board of Realtors", we're (hopefully) at the tail end of the worst recession since, take your pick, the early Reagan administration, the end of WWII or the Great Depression. And what was the catalyst for this recession? The bursting of a housing bubble. Property values have declined virtually everywhere since the mid-2000's. If my recollection is correct, when the CT Post last published area CAPT scores, Monroe was in a "dead heat" with Trumbull and ahead of Shelton. So, if property values have better retained value in these towns, something other than education must be the reason. Might I offer these potential reasons: more commercial development (and therefore a more predictable tax base with lower residential taxes), closer proximity to highways and access to lower-Fairfield County and Metro North to New York and, in the case of Trumbull, more amenities (municipal golf course, 2 town pools). There's enough disingenuous and misleading verbiage coming from Washington every day and folks are tired of it. Can we please get more thoughtful statements from our town candidates?
Charlie Brown October 26, 2011 at 02:46 PM
@captrips - the CAPT scores were ranked at the bottom of our district reference group.
captrips October 26, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Charlie Brown, I'm not trying to be difficult, but there's a website where you can pull the results of any district in CT. The site is: http://solutions1.emetric.net/captpublic/Index.aspx For Grade 10, Monroe fared well against Trumbull and was ahead of Shelton, the only 2 schools I pulled as they were called out in the original statement.
Charlie Brown October 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Science = Trumbull 9th Monroe 13th out of 19. Reading = Trumbull 17th and Monroe 19th out of 19. Math = Trumbull 15th and Monroe 11th out of 19. Writing = Trumbull 7th and Monroe 15th out of 19. Shelton is in a different DRG. They have more families in a lower socio-economic status and receiving free and reduced lunch.
captrips October 26, 2011 at 04:15 PM
2011 Box Selected on the Website for Grade 10 Math Avg Score: Monroe 275.8 / Trumbull 275.2 Math % At or Above Goal: Monroe 72.4 / Trumbull 71.7 Math % At or Above Proficiency: Monroe 94.2 / Trumbull 92.4 Science Avg Score: Monroe 284.2 / Trumbull 288.9 Science % At or Above Goal: Monroe 70.2 / Trumbull 73.1 Science % At or Above Proficiency: Monroe 93.6 / Trumbull 96.3 Reading Avg Score: Monroe 260.6 / Trumbull 259.7 Reading % At or Above Goal: Monroe 57.4/ Trumbull 61.4 Reading % At or Above Proficiency: Monroe 94.3 / Trumbull 94.0 Writing Avg Score: Monroe 281.8 / Trumbull 294.2 Writing % At or Above Goal: Monroe 79.9 / Trumbull 85.4 Writing % At or Above Proficiency: Monroe 98.0 / Trumbull 97.2 I'm assuming both our numbers are correct so I don't really see the point of debating the actual numbers. My only comment was that the candidate's comments did not mention "DRG" or any peer group other than Trumbull or Shelton. Your comments on Shelton are well-founded so that leaves Trumbull. My point was that elected officials need to speak more than self-serving verbiage. Their vision, opinions of the current "state of the town", proposed changes, etc. need to consider facts and data. As for our data, let's just say that Monroe schools appear to be performing well against Trumbull and our "DRG" must include higher performing schools with a very tight variance in scores between the schools..
QWERTY October 26, 2011 at 04:28 PM
"self-serving verbiage"? This is politics...neither candidate gives a damn about the town, its citizens or children. Have you read either candidates brochure? They are filled with generic "rah rah" statements. Kansky's going to be "fiscally efficient" with the education budget yet somehow spend more money. Vavrek lists CodeRED as some Irene achievement of his while never once providing detailed electrical restoration priority plans for the town and all the while praising CL&P for their terrible performance. Also enjoy Vavrek listing his family consisting of two daughters then picturing one daughter in the family photo.
Christine E. October 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Could you blame her? i'd fight tooth and nail not to be in a family photo all over a town where people have such hate for my family. Good lord, high five to her.
monroe taxpayer October 26, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Just how does our commercial growth and tax base compare with the towns on this list. Without the the same resource how does this make it fair comparison? Avon Glastonbury New Fairfield West Hartford Bethel Granby Newtown Weston Brookfield Greenwich Orange Westport Cheshire Guilford Redding Wilton Darien Madison Ridgefield Woodbridge Easton Marlborough Simsbury Region 5 Fairfield Monroe South Windsor Region 9 Farmington New Canaan Trumbull
Ron October 26, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Q- It is a wonder that anyone would run for First Selectman in this town. It is impossible to win here. Raise budgets and citizens get mad. Don't raise budgets and citizens get mad. Petty politics everywhere. Some even criticize family photos. You deserve what you get.
QWERTY October 26, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Wasn't criticizing the photo, more like pointing out a conflict. List two children, photo only one. Not sure why, don't really care, was just obvious to me.
Christine E. October 26, 2011 at 09:57 PM
You can't even compare some of these towns to Monroe. Ridgefield, Wilton, New Canaan, Weston and Darien? With the exception of Weston, they all have typical New England "downtowns" littered with small businesses and foot traffic, not to mention that the multitude of multi-million dollar homes helps to keep the mill low. I will point out though, that geographically Ridgefield is vastly similar to Monroe in that it does not have a highway that runs to it. That's really the only comparison I can make.
Get Real November 06, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Ms. Kansky, I have serious concerns about your leadership backbone. For example your naïve and ill-informed statements in support of Monroe Education are upsetting. How can you support the bloated BOE administration? Every principal had added ridiculous staff to ensure they do not have to do any work. Teachers wages go up every year for what? Their guaranteed wage escalator at twice the Cost of living must come to an end. Will you challenge the BOE to fight the union contracts and the wage escalator’s stranglehold over us. There has never been a democrat that has reduced property taxes. Will you be the first? You hype Vavrek tax and spend record which I agree with you is very abusive to the residents, but you fail to state on the record you will reduce our tax burden. Will you work for a regional approach to DPW, police, fire and Ed. You know as well as I do that our police staff is grossly overstaffed for the pop of Monroe (should be 1 FTE for every 1,000 residents). NO ONE WANTS TO MOVE TO MONORE. MONROE has abused it residents with wasteful spending for years. Will you stand up with backbone against the overpaid teachers union, overstaffed police, and bloated Ed admin staff. Are you going to cut taxes? I doubt it. No democrat has ever before, why are you different.
Ron November 06, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Connecticut is a state of small towns which have consistently and almost unaniously rejected regionalization.Get Real will support regionalization of police...until the day the police are slow to respond to one of his calls. One full time employee per 1,000 citizens? How about going back to the days of one constable? Why have running water in the schools? Eliminate school buses. I'll bet in your day, GR, you walked ten miles uphill both ways to get to and from school.

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