To the Editor:
In response to the letter published on Sept. 21, Board of Education President and Republican candidate for reelection Nick Mercier misstated several of my positions and took some cheap shots at me for self-serving political gain.
First, Mr. Mercier falsely claimed that I support increasing the education budget from the city by $5 million and that is an arbitrary number that I made up. That is a distorted lie on his part. I had stated that, if elected, I will only support a budget which increases funding for education by at least $5 million within my first term in office, thereby reducing class sizes, hiring more teachers and paraprofessionals, and increasing the educational quality that our children receive. The key words are “at least.” My objective of increasing the education budget by at least $5 million is not a arbitrary number but one that many educators have stated is needed to turn our school system around. Maybe Mr. Mercier should pay more attention to what others are saying at his own Board of Education meetings before assuming that I just make up random numbers.
Mr. Mercier then suggests that the $5 million would come only from city taxpayers and that is just bluntly untrue. And he should know better than to mislead the public. The New Britain Public School system is the only school system in our state where the majority of the funding comes from the state government and not the municipal government - 56 percent of funding for the schools come directly from state taxpayers. While it is true that much of the funding will be from city taxpayers under my proposal, not all of it will be. We need the extra funding because our schools are in terrible shape as Mr. Mercier can’t even manage a school system yet alone a city. The graduation rate for the New Britain Public School system is 75 percent, making our school system the second worst performing school system in the state behind Bridgeport’s schools. That is unacceptable. New Britain deserves leaders who care about our children and not career politicians who lie to people like Mr. Mercier.
Second, Mr. Mercier asserts that I do not understand the basic concepts of budgets and taxation. I can confidently say that with my over 10 years of experience both at the state and local levels of government helping to shape both public policy and budgets, I know a whole lot more about budgetary matters than Mr. Mercier does. One is left to wonder why Mr. Mercier is so eager to be the attack dog for Mayor Stewart, yet he is unable to rebut on a factual basis a single point I made on my original letter published on Sept. 17. Maybe it’s because he is the one who doesn’t understand budgets and taxation.
Third, Mr. Mercier falsely claims that in my original letter, I failed to mention anything about grand list growth. I would suggest that Mr. Mercier obtain better reading classes as he clearly needs them. If he had read my original letter more carefully, he would notice in the second paragraph I stated the following: “our grand list grew by 0.9 percent from last year, which places New Britain in last place of the 169 municipalities in grand list growth.”
Finally, I want to encourage all the voters of New Britain to not listen to Mr. Mercier’s distorted lies about where I stand on the issues but to instead hear from me where I stand. I want to make a difference. I truly care.
If you want to know more about where I stand on the issues, visit my website www.bobbyberriault.com/issues . Email me BobbyBerriault@outlook.com if you have any questions for me. I want to work hard for our great city, and that starts by voting out the career politicians who distort the truth and voting for good honest hard working people into office on Tuesday Nov. 7. I am committed to making New Britain a better place for us all.