Shelton Board of Education candidate: John K. Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

Contributed photo

Party: Republican

Incumbent?: Yes, running for second term on the Board of Education

Current Job: J. K. Fitzgerald Construction Company, Shelton; Builder, Developer, Engineer, 1983 to present

Volunteering: Shelton Housing Authority Vice Chairman; Building Committees for Long Hill, Mohegan, Booth Hill, and Elizabeth Shelton school renovations/additions; Perry Hill School reconstruction; Shelton High School renovation/addition and fire sprinkler upgrades; Shelton Intermediate new construction

Education: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Class of 1979; B.S. Civil Engineering, Construction Management

Previous Offices Held: Shelton BoE Building, Grounds & Transportation committee chair; Finance Subcommittee member; Shelton Housing Authority vice chairman.

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

If re-elected, my primary focus will be to continue monitoring the implementation of the new upgrades to the school bus transportation system. The maintenance of our school buildings and facilities is also a top priority. We can continue to explore available grants that will ease the burden on our budget. Our schools and their campus settings enable our children to achieve to their utmost potential and should be a source of community pride.

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?

I believe that the city run bus company is on the right track to serve the children of our community. Over the summer, personnel from the Board of Education, administration and the Shelton School Transportation System met several times to begin implementing the new upgrades. Joint training sessions have focused on route mapping, student location data input and coordination of all school facilities class start and dismissal times. All the variables that involve the multiple locations, as well as sports activities, are being fine-tuned. We are looking forward to adding GPS tracking and parental controls.

We are aware of the frustration from delays that have occurred due to bus driver shortages and the pandemic’s impact on daily life. Everyone is focused daily on the complaints, and they are handled with open communication with the Board, administration and the director of the City’s bus company.

The savings realized by contracting with the city of Shelton is significant. Remember, operational costs are all paid with taxpayer money. When looking at a possible new vendor for bus services, we will take into account the ability of the company to deliver these new efficiencies that we are putting in place now. By attending the joint training sessions, I have seen firsthand the dedication that staff has for their jobs; I believe their intention is to deliver the best possible, safe and efficient service for our students and their families.

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?

We have established a good rapport with the Board of Alderman in the past few years and have seen the benefits of this effort. The open communication that has been established can easily translate our needs during the yearly budget process. Capital improvement projects are always considered thoughtfully and we will be looking forward to working with our Board of Alderman and our Mayor to improve services. We have worked diligently in the past to provide for the needs of our students with the funds available, and are always looking at ways to get the most for our money. We all benefit when the needs of our children are met. This is my primary focus.