Did we forget there’s a special election September 4 for four open Board of Education seats? The Democrats have endorsed three members of the state-appointed school board, Jacqui Kelleher, Ken Moales and Hernan Illingworth. The Republican candidates are husband-wife Wayne Hayes and Evelyn Hayes and ex Republican Registrar of Voters Joe Borges. Waiting word from Connecticut’s Working Families Party about its candidates.
The WFP currently has two members on the elected board, Maria Perreira and Sauda Baraka. Other members of the elected board are Democrats Bobby Simmons, Tom Mulligan and Leticia Colon who is also a member of the City Council. Assuming Colon resigns from the BOE, sitting members can select a replacement.
Dormant for almost one year as a result of the state takeover of schools, the elected school board will be reseated once the results of the special election are certified. The special election was ordered by the Connecticut Supreme Court following a court challenge of votes by the local and state school board supporting state control.
Unless lightning strikes the three Democratic school board candidates, by virtue of the Dems mighty registration advantage, will win election. The fourth seat, however, due to state-mandated minority party representation, will go to one of the Republican or WFP candidates, and will be the center of action for this race. Democratic operatives, in an ironic twist from three years ago, want to elect one of the Republicans fearing growing influence of the WFP. A number of Dem pols helped to elect Pereira and Baraka, leaving Republican candidates in the cold. Now they want to embrace one of the Republicans because, they claim, Pereira and Baraka will not work with them. Yes, be careful what you wish for.
Republican Town Chair John Slater says the GOP has three solid candidates including the husband-wife team with accounting backgrounds and Borges, a veteran campaigner.
Statement from Wayne Hayes: “We need to better serve our students and equip our teachers with the tools and resources to provide a more rigorous academic program. We need to manage spending and provide more transparency in decisions. We need to partner and collaborate with local programs that are effectively addressing education issues and seek out sustainable solutions to the issues at hand. The board, teachers and parents must be active partners working towards the advancement of the education provided for our students both in terms of the environment and the curriculum to ensure the interests of our children are prioritized.”
Statement from Evelyn Hayes: “We must get to the root of issues that are causing our dropout rates to increase, deteriorating the aptitude of our children to become successful adults and preventing funds from going straight to the classroom. We need a fresh perspective on spending and enhanced programs and curriculum to adequately meet the needs of diverse learning styles and underperforming and at-risk youth at each grade level. As a mother, I understand the importance of supporting our children in their journey to success and meeting them where they are at these key stages of their lives.”