Anglace: Backing Shelton charter revision would bring long-term tech solutions
SHELTON — Board of Aldermen President John Anglace Jr. says creation of a joint technology committee would spearhead long-term planning to upgrade the school district’s technology stock, which district officials acknowledge remains woefully inadequate in a post-COVID-19 age.
Formation of a permanent technology committee is called for in the revised charter, which has sparked strong opposition before it goes to the voters in November.
“We see (the new technology committee) as the best way to address our future technology needs,” Anglace said in a statement at the beginning of a joint meeting of the Board of Aldermen and Board of Education finance committees at City Hall Wednesday.
“With such a Board of Education need for technology spending, we cannot understand why the Board of Education has not yet endorsed this proposal,” Anglace added.
But those in attendance — among them members of Envision Shelton, a bipartisan political action group formed in opposition to the charter revisions — shouted down the alderman at some points, emphatically stating that formation of a technology committee and charter revision do not need to go hand-in-hand.
Along with creation of the joint technology committee, charter revision includes eliminating the Board of Apportionment and Taxation and increasing party maximums for elected positions — designed, opponents say, to strengthen the mayor’s power.
Supporters deny the characterization, saying the changes would give more power to voters.
Students and parents have spent weeks calling for immediate aid for the district’s technology needs, but Wednesday’s meeting was more about long-term planning, which Anglace said can only be handled through a committee officially created in the city’s charter.
His comment drew an immediate “No” from those in the audience, who repeated that charter change was not necessary for creation of such a committee and short-term assistance was needed.
Anglace agreed that a technology committee could be formed as a building committee under current charter rules but said such groups are temporary, and the city requires a permanent charter change to ensure continuity.
If approved as part of the charter revisions, the committee would include three appointments each from the Board of Education, Board of Aldermen and Mayor Mark Lauretti’s office.
Board of Education member Carl Rizzo, who was joined by Board of Education Vice Chair James Orazietti at the meeting, said the three pillars of any such committee would be inclusion of technology experts, long-term planning and guaranteed funding.
The district’s technology needs are “non-negotiable,” Rizzo told the aldermen finance committee.
Anglace said the meeting was the first step in showing Board of Education members the aldermen are committed to working alongside the schools in improving district technology shortfalls. He said he hopes the school board will soon present its list of technology needs to the aldermen.