This section covers topics important to Greenwich residents at various stages of life, from childcare and public education, to employment and senior care. Survey respondents indicated this as the second highest priority issue category, primarily because large numbers of respondents were concerned about education. Interviewees, including those involved with education and education-related services, placed this concern in the appropriate context as they noted critical issues around access to early childhood education and the need to address inequalities. Additionally, we heard from seniors and service providers working with them about the need for continued funding and expanded senior services.
Families, Children & Seniors
Education was one of the two primary service categories highlighted as critical by survey respondents. Likewise, interviewees communicated a clear concern for students at all levels of education focusing on four primary issues: concern with public education, educational disparities, the opportunity gap among students, and budgetary constraints, especially for early childhood education.
Among interviewees, there was a common recognition that public education is an essential foundation for the overall well-being of the community. With 9,099 students in 2018 and a total budget of $196.4 million, per pupil expenditure in Greenwich Public Schools was $ 21,672 – the highest in Fairfield County. These resources translate to positive educational outcomes for students. Nevertheless, Department of Education data show racial disparities within the system. Average test scores for Black and Hispanic students are lower in English, math, and science than for their White counterparts. Equally important, there is significant economic disparity within the district. In some schools, more than half the student body qualifies for the free or reduced-price.
School District Performance Index – Math
School District Performance Index – Science
School District Performance Index – ELA
In its recent report, the Commission on Aging reiterated the town’s commitment to support seniors and allow them to age out in the community. In many ways, the issues seniors face in Greenwich are not separate from the issues that the community at large is dealing with– specifically, affordable housing and care, and accessible transportation. However, their increased physical, mental, and economic vulnerabilities make these issues significantly more acute.
The town and community organizations provide seniors with a range of indispensable services, including adult day care, recreation and socialization activities, cognitive therapy, and home care. Maintaining these services as reliable options requires strong inter-agency coordination, which is largely in place according to our interviewees. However, they also noted that some of the infrastructure for these services, particularly the Senior Center, needs renovations and capital investment.