NEW BRITAIN - Following the mayoral candidates, the city‚Äôs candidates for the Board of Education answered questions related to education in the city.
Incumbent Republican-endorsed Nick Mercier, incumbent Republican-endorsed Democrat Mallory Deprey and incumbent Democrat-endorsed Daisy Sanchez joined newcomers Violet Sims and Annie S. Parker, both endorsed by Democrats, during the forum. Nancy Rodriguez could not attend because of family matters.
In a similar format to the mayoral forum, candidates were eached asked the same questions before individualized questions. The first question asked candidates what the biggest issue facing the school district is and how they would address it.
‚ÄúMost of our issues stem from a lack or resources, as you hear many people say, but the lack of those resources ‚Ä¶ lead to below average graduation rates and student achievement,‚ÄĚ Sims said. ‚ÄúAddressing these issues requires involving teachers, staff, families and community leaders in collaborative problem solving, training and decision making.‚ÄĚ
Parker shared her colleague‚Äôs sentiment. The candidate said that the district needs to maximize benefits of what it spends money on to ensure that all students have services they need.
Sanchez agreed that instability in funding is the most pressing issue.
‚ÄúIt does affect the hiring, the supplies in the facilities we constantly need,‚ÄĚ Sanchez said of stagnant funding for the district.
Deprey said finances are always a hot topic, but that she thinks strengthening relationships with students in the city would be a step in the right direction.
‚ÄúIf every student in our district had one person to check on them, to tell them ‚ÄėHey, happy to see you today,‚Äô or ‚Äėhey, did you study for that exam tomorrow?‚Äô - imagine what that ripple effect can do,‚ÄĚ Deprey said.
Mercier said that like in other districts, New Britain‚Äôs challenge is getting students to be successful by the time they enter to the time theye leave.
‚ÄúIf we have every single student who come in our doors walk out and graduate ready for a career - military, college, whatever they want to do with their lives - then we‚Äôve succeeded as a school district,‚ÄĚ Mercier said.
Mercier said connecting with families and the community is a good way to improve a child‚Äôs chances of success in school.
Candidates were also asked about supporting transportation from schools to after-school programs in the city. All candidates said they are committed to making sure students can get to programs they wish to participate in.
The municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.