To Our Partners, Patrons, Families, and Longtime SERC Supporters,
As an agency with almost 50 years of service on behalf of all children, especially children with disabilities, children of color, and English learners, we have witnessed the state navigating fiscal challenges many times. As we said earlier this year, SERC has shared the impact of these challenges alongside our partners and stakeholders. We have also indicated that this year is different: Our SERC Board of Directors was presented with the difficult, unprecedented decision to either cease operations or to implement the most drastic agency reduction in SERC’s history. The General Assembly’s Education Committee unanimously passed Raised Bill # 5336, “an Act Concerning the Funding of the State Education Resource Center.” As introduced, the bill would have established a budget line item for SERC, which would help ensure its fiscal solvency, but the General Assembly adjourned without voting on it. In part through the support and advocacy from all of you, however, I am pleased to inform you that this institution has weathered the fiscal storm one more year.
Nevertheless, as with any major storm, we are experiencing substantial losses. To reduce operational costs, we have had to move ahead with the Board’s second option and reduce our workforce significantly. Once an agency of close to 100 staff members, as of July 1, 2018, we’ll find ourselves with fewer than 35. As of June 30, we’ll be saying goodbye to an amazing group of individuals whose character and commitment to the well-being of our children, our families, and the educational systems that support them helped shape the history of SERC and pioneer the vision of an organization to promote Equity, Excellence and Education. Through every challenge, they stood strong in the belief that we were here for our children. Their contributions to Connecticut’s educational landscape can’t go unrecognized. I am honored to have worked beside all of them.
Another extremely unfortunate loss is the closing of the SERC Library. The Library will cease operations as of Friday, June 29, 2018. Therefore, borrowing privileges will be suspended effective June 8, 2018. All borrowed resources must be returned to the Library no later than Friday, June 15, 2018.
Since its launch in 1969, the SERC Library has been at the forefront of academic resources and services provision statewide in the fields of education and social services. As a uniquely specialized public lending library, it has supported educators, college and university students, and families throughout Connecticut for two or three generations. We are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together with our many patrons and other community stakeholders.
It is our hope that as the economic climate changes and possible future funding sources are generated, we can bring back this one-of-a-kind resource.
While funding has been a struggle in recent years, our focus and commitment to those we serve and to our shared vision have remained constant and strong in spite of the many challenges we have faced together.
My deepest gratitude goes to the SERC staff, the families, students, educators, administrators, community organizations, partners, and social justice allies that through our nearly 50 years of service have made our commitment to Equity, Excellence, and Education a mission and vision that is well-worth standing for. We still stand because of you, and I thank you.
Ingrid M. Canady