As part of GOOD Morning Wilton‘s coverage of the elections for the 2019 municipal elections, we have set out guidelines inviting each candidate to submit one 800-word op-ed piece before Election Day. Savet Constantine is a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education.

Our Vision for Keeping Our Schools Exceptional for Our Community

The Wilton Public Schools are our town’s most important asset. It is imperative we continue to invest smartly in our education system in order to achieve two inexorably linked outcomes:  the highest quality educational experience for our children and sustained economic security–and prosperity–for our town.

When my father came to the U.S. as a teenager from post-war Greece with $50 in his shoe, education was the only means for him to get ahead. Education and economic success are inherently intertwined. This fundamental tenet is core to my family and is behind my passion to support our schools and community. It is why I have volunteered over the past 15 years, including multiple terms as PTA president at Middlebrook School and Wilton High School.

Through these years of working with administrators, teachers, parents and students, I have an acute understanding of how our school system works, and needs to work. I am deeply immersed in the critical issues of how our schools impact the town budget, the social and emotional issues children face, how technology can be both beneficial and detrimental to our children’s education, and, yes, how real estate values are tied to the quality of our schools.

We need to strike a balance between protecting our town’s main asset and maintaining a sustainable fiscal approach for the town so people can confidently plan to stay long-term in Wilton. Steering this balance needs expertise and knowledge of school programming and goals in order to ensure we provide a system in a fiscally sound manner while achieving our high educational standards.

As a board member my two main goals would be to ensure:  1) the schools provide an education that best enables our children for success, and 2) Wilton’s status as a top-performing district to attract and retain a thriving community to help propel property values, growing our grand list while also insisting on delivering reasonable tax levels.

The last several budgets have delivered a leaner school system while still achieving our educational goals. The next years will need Board of Education members to evaluate how and what we offer on multiple levels. Members who delve into the budget, ask questions, and get answers to ensure our budget efficiently and effectively delivers what this town needs. Members who understand that educational priorities change as the world and workplace change. Members who ensure our system evolves to meet the demands students face today while preparing them for the world of tomorrow.

My experience as a parent, volunteer, and active participant in the community gives me a unique advantage of knowing our school system in-depth and how each program fits district goals. I have always reached out to find out what students and parents need and facilitated discussion between the community and administration. As a member of the Board of Education I will continue to engage with the community and have a shared vision in order to keep our district strong and continue to excel in the future.