Office: Board of Education
Status: Seeking First Full Term on Board of Education, Former Legislative Council Member
Pitch: My experience provides me with a unique perspective that is unmatched by any other candidate. I have served on both the Board of Education and the Legislative Council since being elected in 2007. Currently, I am a member of the Board of Education. I have been a part of developing and enacting school policy, planning and building a school addition, budgeting for both the school and town, planning for school and town capital projects, supporting new/revised curriculum and working with multiple boards to help support Board of Education initiatives.
Knowing how the board works and interacts with other boards is a key quality.
Another factor is the amount of time that I have to dedicate to the Board of Education. Being a contributing board member takes a great deal of time. There are committee meetings and other board events during the day and night in addition to regular board meetings – even in the summer. This is much different than any other board. While many board members are working, I am not and I have the time to dedicate to this position.
For more information: Kathy Hamilton's profile on Newtown Republicans' website.
On The Issues
Our town circumstances have changed significantly and our enrollment declined 249 students since last year. Since 2006, the enrollment has declined 716 students.
I do believe that we should consider an update to the 2010 study so that we can see the impact this will have moving forward. I have been on the record over the last several years asking for the school district to address the declining enrollment.
We have an obligation to have the discussion given the results of a new report. In the short term, we should make sure that our class sizes follow our guidelines. For the longer term, we need to have a public dialog about the facility needs of the school district. My thought is to wait until we have seated a permanent superintendent.
- The Budget
Additionally, if we bring in new programs, we need to take an accounting of the
older programs and decide whether they are still appropriate. And, finally, we need to continue to review our overhead costs. One such way to reduce these costs is to look for operating processes that overlap with municipal processes. By combining these processes, we realize cost savings and provide more clarity. This past year the municipal and school payroll systems were combined. We achieved savings and a clearer process.
Also, we need to start meeting more regularly with both the Legislative Council and the Board of Finance to talk about what is happening in the schools. Then we need to include all other stakeholders in a discussion about the needs and goals of the school district. Stakeholders include all Newtown citizens – not just school age parents. I believe we will get buy-in if our expectations are reasonable.
- The Superintendent Search
students, parents and the community as a whole. This person needs to be a part of the community. They need to have the ability to inspire greatness in our students and staff. In my experience, the people I have worked hardest for are the people who value their staff and show it. We need someone with energy and integrity. We need someone who has experience as a teacher, principal and administrator – someone who can mentor with credibility.
Our board is committed to finding the right person and not settling. We have
communicated to the search firm that if we don’t find the right person the first go-around. We will continue to look. I am confident that we will find the right person before the school year is finished.
- School Security
schools. Our parents have let us know that it is of utmost importance to them. For the longer term, I think school security will change from a security staffing issue to more of a hardening of the building security. This is an issue that we should continually evaluate.