The candidates for Board of Education were asked the following questions:


  1. What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

  2. How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

  3. What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


 

Michael Miller (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


The biggest challenge is to ensure our schools – which are already among Connecticut’s best – continue to evolve their curriculums and challenge our students. This means not only rigorous academics, but providing exposure and support for the arts and extra-curricular activities. Well-rounded students thrive in life and in  college. That’s the goal. 

How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


While it’s an important question to keep in mind, the BOE’s role, as written by the state, is to maintain schools and activities in its best judgment. The BOE would work with Trumbull’s Board of Finance to ensure students’ needs are met and that students are positioned for success, not necessarily cut specific programs due to funding.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


The BOE is not the arbiter of how to manage state funding. The BOE should be cognizant of funding challenges and not spend needlessly, but that shouldn’t determine the BOE’s judgment of what’s best for Trumbull student. Changes are always made through continued evaluation of success and weaknesses, and not dependent on state shortfalls.

Lucinda Timpanelli (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


The state budget is our most difficult challenge. All decisions will depend on the level of funding we receive. As a Board, we will approach the budget based on the facts presented. I will do my best, as always, to put student learning first.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


As a current member, I have worked collaboratively with all members and our Superintendent, and if re-elected will continue to provide a fair, reasonable and cost effective budget that will keep Trumbull Public Schools the dynamic system it is, while recognizing the need for resources in town for all ages.


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


It is important to work as a team to scrutinize all vital components of our system to determine what we can afford to keep and what we need to delay /defer. Decisions cannot be individually crafted. All areas will be reviewed to determine the least severe impact, while maintaining our exceptional status.


Kathleen Fearon (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


More than 3 years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending teens start school no earlier than 8:30. I hope to initiate discussions to move forward in the difficult, but essential, task of changing start times for the wellbeing of our middle and high school students. Through a series of public hearings, efforts will be made to listen to and address concerns of parents, teachers and administrators.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


Independent of whether a resident has school-aged children, it must be understood that great schools also increase our property values and contribute to a desirable, vibrant community. I will work collaboratively with the superintendent and other board members to present a request sufficient for our students to excel. It is ultimately up to the Board of Finance to review and the Town Council to approve the town’s budget, allocating appropriate funds for education.


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Fortunately, it appears the state cuts to Trumbull’s education budget at this writing will be more manageable than previously anticipated. Since contractual and fixed costs make up the majority of the education budget, I hope the difference could be made up in efficiencies in town spending, eliminating the need to cut services or raise taxes. I would insist that any cuts, if necessary, have no impact in the classroom or on counseling services.


Julia McNamee (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

We will face state and federal budget constraints. The time to plan is now. For instance, the district’s new Writing Workshop program brings life to students’ writing and simultaneously brings teachers best practices, like conferring and small group instruction. We don’t want to lose the great gains we have made with programs like these. If we consider our priorities carefully, we won’t lose what matters, even when times are tough.

How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

Our town has many important needs, ranging from those of our most fragile seniors to those of our most vulnerable schoolchildren. They all matter; we are a diverse community, and we value that quality. It’s the job of the Board of Finance to balance needs.

As a board member, my job would be to advocate for the needs of schoolchildren and then to determine priorities once we receive our budget from the town.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?

The state budget voted on does not greatly reduce Trumbull funding. A general rule of thumb for working within any budget would be to keep cuts as far away from classrooms and children as possible. Town officials would be wise to remember that our children deserve our best efforts. Furthermore, our town’s prosperity is tied to home values, which rest on a strong school system.


Michael Ward (D)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


Maintaining the present system of education.

How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


A balance is always a challenge but it can be done with good preparation by the administration.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


Hard to respond without input by the administration. This is a brief response because as a board we deal with policies, not administration.


Loretta Chory (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

In this fast paced world, one of the most difficult challenges that I see facing TPS will be continuing to develop well-rounded, well-adjusted and emotionally intelligent students who are equipped to move on to an institution of higher learning, into the workforce or the military one day, taking along with them a life-long love for learning that I believe will have a tremendous influence on the ultimate level of success they achieve in life.

How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

The BOE must be open to evaluating where efficiencies can be realized through consolidation of services when similar departments exists on the Board-side and Town-side. The current BOE functions very successfully, in a non-partisan manner, where all members recognize that the best interests of students and taxpayers are not at odds. We know we can meet the needs of the school system without overburdening taxpayers because we have been doing just that for several years.


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?

As a veteran board member, I feel it would be inappropriate to suggest specific areas for reduction without consulting with the superintendent, however items that directly impact teaching and learning should always be given highest priority. We need to continue to invest in more facility upgrades, like programs currently underway that replace 50 year old boilers, install energy efficient windows and place solar panels onto school rooftops, all of which provide significant energy costs savings.


Jeffrey Donofrio (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

The most difficult challenges will be to (1) continue to improve all facets of our outstanding district and (2) increase operational efficiency without adversely impacting program or performance. We will handle it by collaborating with our excellent administrators and staff, properly researching and scrutinizing all options and utilizing best practices to implement improvements. We also will continue our practice of objective evaluation of our policies and performance.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

The BOE must continue to focus on efficient utilization of resources. Examples of efficiencies realized in the past 2 years without impacting program include significant savings on health insurance and energy. The current BOE functions very well in a non-partisan manner and all members recognize that the best interests of students and taxpayers are not at odds. A strong school system benefits the community in many ways; the BOE’s goal is for all students to


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?

Regardless of the state budget, we will continue to analyze opportunities for savings and greater efficiencies in areas that do not impact the classroom. In the event that we lose significant revenue due to cuts to state funding, we will exhaust all reasonable alternatives prior to impacting services.


Matt Caron (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

The most difficult challenge I see facing Trumbull’s schools in the next two years will be the system’s ability to maintain its current high-level of recognized performance in a cost effective and sustainable manner. I would handle this challenge by consulting all members of the Administration and Board in an effort to prioritize our responsibilities, review current modes of operations, while identifying areas which could be enhanced or removed to best meet our objectives.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

Trumbull’s school system, while one of the most important, is one of many facets which make Trumbull the community of choice it is. If elected, I will be sensitive to the challenge of meeting our contractual obligations, providing our staff and students the best opportunities for success in an ever evolving educational climate, while maintaining a broader perspective as how to achieve these targets without adversely impacting the quality of services afforded our residents.

What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?

I fully appreciate and recognize the potential reality any board may face with regards to having to make cuts. However, I feel it would be inappropriate to suggest any specific cuts when all the realities of the new financial climate are unknown. I will strive to follow the example of our current BOE in working collectively to ensure all programs and services were funded for this school year despite the uncertainty from the state.


Jackie Norcel (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


The most difficult challenges facing TPS will be to continue to enhance all facets of our outstanding school system, as well as to increase all operational efficiencies, without adversely impacting the curriculum or student performance. To accomplish this, I will need to read, research and scrutinize all possible options, and collaborate with the other BOE members and the administrative team and staff, to best implement improvements or changes.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


BOE members need to work to connect the will of our community to the education of their children. To balance the need of the school system and the need to keep taxes steady and predictable, the BOE must focus on efficient utilization of resources to continue to achieve higher student performance without incurring excessive costs. I will be open to evaluating where potential efficiencies might be realized through consolidation of services.


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


All BOE members must analyze opportunities for savings and greater efficiencies, giving priority to areas that will not impact the classroom. At this time, it would be inappropriate for me to suggest potential areas for reduction without reviewing the budget, reviewing the system needs and consulting with the superintendent and his administrative team. All reasonable alternatives would be considered and prioritized prior to impacting student services.


Marie Petitti (R)


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?


What will be the most difficult challenge Trumbull's schools will face in the next two years, and how do you want to handle it?

Given the uncertain state budget we need to continue to promote well-rounded students who will have the knowledge and skills for success for either college and/or career pathway while paying for increased contractual obligations, benefits, transportation and the escalation of cost for mandated special education services. We will need to continue to find additional operational efficiencies while not impacting teaching and learning.


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?


How will you balance the needs of the school system against the need to keep taxes steady?

Continue to make critical investments in our student’s education through classroom technology and improved curricula that delivers rigorous, relevant and results driven outcomes while identifying opportunities for savings in health insurance, energy and capital projects. Our present BOE functions very successfully. Education should not be political. As a present BOE member, we have worked to balance the needs of our students with the needs of our taxpayers. A strong school benefits everyone.


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?


What services, if any, would you be willing to cut if the state reduces the money that it sends to Trumbull? If none, how should Trumbull make up the shortfall?

Continue to provide a high quality education while in search of opportunities for savings such as grants, greater efficiency in energy but always giving priority to areas that do not impact the classroom.