NB school board candidates meet and eat with voters

Published on Monday, 11 September 2017 22:01
Written by Skyler Frazer

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN - Residents were given a chance to meet this year’s Board of Education candidates Monday night at an “Eat, Meet and Greet” event organized by the New Britain Area League of Women Voters.

The six candidates vying for five seats joined potential voters at Trinity-On-Main to enjoy a pasta dinner and discuss their views on education in New Britain. After the meal, candidates introduced themselves and answered questions on topics such as how the city’s schools can better retain students from leaving for a magnet school.

Mallory Deprey, a Republican-endorsed Democratic incumbent, said magnet schools market directly to students and parents what they can provide. Deprey said the district has been working to improve its own marketing plan.

“I believe that since Superintendent (Nancy) Sarra has come on, we have made major improvements in our communication and marketing in our schools to highlight some of our successes,” Deprey said.

Incumbent Republican Nicholas Mercier, the board’s president, said the schools have not followed up on what they were intended to do, though, even though they get a disproportionate amount of funding from the state.

“They’re not really even delivering on their promise, which was to desegregate Hartford schools, which was to improve the quality of education in the state. Instead it’s created a huge drain on communities,” Mercier said.

Incumbent Democrat Daisy Sanchez said she leads by example by discussing with fellow parents the potential of New Britain’s schools.

“When anyone says anything negative, I just tell them my daughter is there, she excels very well in honors classes and I know the teachers, the administrators, and I speak very highly of them,” said Sanchez, who has a daughter in seventh grade at Pulaski Middle School.

Violet Sims, endorsed by the Democrats, said the school district should do more to keep programs and curriculums that attract students.

“It attracts people to have a variety of things. In recent years, New Britain removed a lot of the specialty programs that people liked. We have to bring things like that back if we want our people back,” she said.

On the question of budget cuts, Republican-endorsed Nancy Rodriguez emphasized the need to prevent the loss of paraprofessionals.

“They’re in the trenches,” Rodriguez said. “They are making differences in the lives of these children.”

On minority teacher recruitment, Democratic-endorsed Annie S. Parker spoke of the importance of having minority talent officers encourage other members of minorities to come to the city to teach.

“I’m not saying that white people can’t recruit black people, but I am saying that people want to see people that look like themselves when being recruited to go somewhere,” Parker said.

The municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Monday, 11 September 2017 22:01. Updated: Monday, 11 September 2017 22:03.