Letter: Vote no to prevent supermajority on BOE
To the Editor:
People wonder and ask me "why is the charter revision a big deal?" There are many different answers to this question, but for me, my biggest concern is the change to the BOE, which would allow one party to have a supermajority on our school board.
Decisions that solely impact our students, parents and teachers should be made after a largely bipartisan effort, period. I understand it doesn't always work this way, and even with a 5-4 split there are still votes that end in a 5-4 decision. But why we would want to encourage partisanship on the board, to encourage more party line votes, I have no idea.
I am fearful. I am fearful that without a 5-4 split, those sitting on the BOE will feel less compelled to hear the concerns of the constituencies they serve, no matter which political party that constituency belongs to. If you've ever attended a Board of Aldermen meeting, you know exactly what I am talking about. The BOA is currently a supermajority of only one party. If any of us from the public voice concerns, do you think they listen? Do you think they care? That's an honest to God question, not a rhetorical one.
With a 6-3 BOE, the fix would essentially be in. I am incredibly fearful for the students, many of whom have gotten involved in local politics for the first time ever this year in advocating for student representation on the BOE. I've watched adults, residents of Shelton for years, tirelessly advocate their local elected leaders until finally, one day, they just give up. To them, it's pointless, the fix is in, and nothing will ever change. If this 6-3 supermajority comes to fruition on the BOE, I fear this will happen to our now actively engaged student body too. And that's not what politics should be about. Politics shouldn't be about waiting people out, it shouldn't be about spacing out during the public comment portion and then voting the way in which you decided to vote 5 days ago in a meeting with other members of your party. It should be about actively listening and responding to your constituencies’ concerns, even if at the end of the day you still disagree.
So I am pleading with you, please, for the sake of democracy and political participation in Shelton, vote no on charter revision. Demand the BOE stay a 5-4 board, and demand more independent, free thinkers on all of our city boards and commissions, those whose only loyalty is to doing what's right for the constituencies they serve. That is what we all deserve.