Officials Look To Keep Counselor At New Canaan High

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New Canaan First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III and other town officials suggested a restructured spending plan allowing TeenTalk to remain at the high school. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — New Canaan officials have outlined a plan to fund the Kids in Crisis agency for the 2013-14 fiscal year, said a statement from First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III’s office.

The town’s Human Services Director Carol McDonald requested that the Town Council transfer $25,000 from a part-time caseworker position and give it to the Kids in Crisis agency so it could have the full $50,000 it requested, the statement said. 

New Canaan’s Board of Finance had cut $25,000 from the Kids In Crisis agency before approving its proposed $132.07 million spending plan for the upcoming year.

The senior caseworker position is vacant and was identified as a potential cut in the town’s spending plan, the statement said. McDonald will also ask for another $10,000 to increase the hours of the part-time human service program assistant, the statement said.

The cut in funding to Kids in Crisis would slash the funding to TeenTalk Counselor Program, which places counselor Ed Milton in New Canaan High School full time, a statement from the organization said. Since he came to the school in 2006, Milton has worked with more than 1,100 students directly and many others through school events, groups, and presentations, the statement said.

After hearing about the cut to TeenTalk, 2012 New Canaan graduate Michael DeMattia started an online petition to raise awareness about the cut.

“The decision to keep this program in place is not only the smart decision, but one which demonstrates that the health and well-being of students remains a priority in New Canaan,” said DeMattia, a current freshman at Tulane University. He thanked town officials for recognizing the need for the program.

Although he never went to Milton directly for help, DeMattia said he believes his classmates did because of the level of trust they showed in Milton. That may not come from other teachers or staff members, he said.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of good [Milton] can do with kids,” he said, explaining the difference he saw in classmates who met with the counselor.

The Town Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed spending plan April 3 and then decide on it April 9.

View the currently proposed spending plans here.

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