Shelton Board of Education candidate: Joan Littlefield

Joan Littlefield

Joan Littlefield

Contributed photo

Party: Democrat

Are you an incumbent? (if yes, how many years in office): No

Current job: Director, Asia & Eurasia Programs at Americares

Volunteering background, if any: Toastmaster's club offices (Membership, Program), served on my parish council, fundraising for a community school in Africa

Education: BS (Nursing), MPH, MBA

If elected, what will be your primary focus — budget, curriculum, another topic?

If elected to the Board of Education my focus would be on student health and well being and budget.

What is your stance on the city-run bus company? A positive or negative for the school district, and what would your stance be when time to go back to bid/negotiate with the city?

It's difficult for a town to have the right staffing and backup resources to run a school bus service effectively and the Board of Education needs full transparency into the functioning of the service, which it does not have. Currently, the City pays itself and therefore cannot be held accountable. When the current contract is about to expire, we need to go out to bid and the City should be required to submit a proposal as all other companies will. The City should not be allowed to skip the bidding process. I believe that most towns are better off with a professional bus company that can vet drivers and buses well ahead of time, pay our trusted drivers a fair wage, and ensure that the buses are in optimal condition to keep our kids safe. A professional bus company is more likely to be able to arrange a driver or a bus from their backup resources at the last minute if a sudden need arises. They are also held accountable against performance metrics and can have payment withheld for a lack of performance.

Your thoughts on the school budget — how it stands now for what is needed in the schools? How would you help to continue better relations between the BOE/mayor/ Aldermen?

My hope for Shelton is that the Mayor, Aldermen and the BOE will develop a shared vision of what a quality education means for Shelton families. We have neglected our most essential asset: our teachers and staff. Although we don't need glossy facilities to provide a good education, our buildings and grounds should be well cared for and make students and staff feel good about their environment. To make all of this happen, the school budget needs to be adequate. Holding the budget level and counting on staff retirements, etc. to save money is not an investment in quality education.

I am running for the Board of Education so that I can give my time and expertise to the Shelton community. I have been very fortunate to have benefited from a good public school education and feel we can continue to improve our service to our families without increasing taxes. I moved to Shelton more than four years ago and my daughter graduated from Shelton High School. Having seen pro's and con's of some approaches to solving education challenges in other settings, I'm eager to support our Board of Education.

All candidates can also respond about their reasons for running, time they have lived in the city, and why they are best for the role.