Board of Education Candidates Talk Budget, Student Success–and Sitting for the Pledge

Thursday night, Oct. 19, the four candidates running for the Wilton Board of Education sat together on stage at the Wilton Library to answer questions submitted by their fellow town residents. The Community Forum–sponsored by the Library, the Wilton League of Women Voters, and GOOD Morning Wiltongave voters a chance to hear from the four candidates who are vying for three open seats on the BOE.

The candidates took on a wide variety of topics, including the expected ones–how to find savings in school budgets, how to measure success of a district, and handling enrollment shifts–along with one question that had the potential to be politically charged–What is the appropriate response to a situation the question writer had recently learned about:  Wilton High School students sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The candidates vying for the three seats are:  Deborah Low (D), Gretchen Jeanes (D), Andrea Preston (R), and Glenn Hemmerle (R).

The Town Committee officials were eager to praise their candidates’ performances.

Bill Lalor, chair of the Republican Town Committee, said, “I thought it was another good night for the GOP-endorsed slate. Glenn Hemmerle and Andrea Preston gave honest, straightforward answers to very good questions from the audience. It is obvious they both care about Wilton’s high-caliber schools and continuing to improve wherever possible while tackling looming budget problems. Both Glenn and Andrea have exceptional backgrounds that will serve them well on the BOE, and I think that came through last night.”

Democratic Town Committee spokesman Bob Carney said, “At Thursday’s Candidate Forum Democrats articulated a vision of careful economic growth coupled with the preservation of Wilton’s greatest assets: its quality of life and excellent schools. Board of Education candidates Deborah Low and Gretchen Jeanes made the case that in a difficult economic time, they would bring both experience and new blood to the Board of Education. Both, while dismayed, saw the Pledge of Allegiance incident as a teaching opportunity, a chance to listen, debate the issues and remind students what our symbols represent. Also, Low and Jeanes argued for strong community involvement.”

As a sponsor, GMW is pleased to bring the recorded video to readers, below.

Wilton BOE Forum, 10-19-17 from GOOD Morning Wilton on Vimeo.